What is the power of your life? How far does your influence go? As it turns out, the impact of our lives is far more than you might imagine.
Give yourself a baseline: take the next five seconds and write down the number of people you think your life could possibly impact. Dream big.
Ok, got your number written down?
Let’s turn for a moment to some research conducted by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler. In their book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, they summarize two key pieces of amazing evidence.
- It’s a ‘small world’: “We are connected to everyone else [in the world] by six degrees of separation” (27).
- The three degrees of influence rule: “Everything we do or say tends to ripple through our network, having an impact on our friends (one degree), our friends’ friends (two degrees), and even our friends’ friends’ friends (three degrees)” (27).
In other words,
If we are connected to everyone else by six degrees and we can influence them up to three degrees, then one way to think about ourselves is that each of us can reach about halfway to everyone else on the planet (29).
That is simply amazing!
In other words: today, you have the power to start a social revolution.
For instance, recently in Newington, Connecticut, an unknown person at a Starbucks paid for their drink and for the next person in line. This created a chain of ‘paying it forward‘ that lasted for five straight days and included 1,468 people! Since then, the story has been retold many more times via the media, creating additional ripple effects. Right now, you are hearing about this story, and it may impact your life too. From one tiny, simple decision to be generous, a snowball effect took place that has inspired generosity around the world.
The fact is that who you are and how you live your life is having a global impact. This is the reality of our connected world.
Understanding these social realities brings incredible new meaning to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Today, decide to let your light shine before others.
God will use the faithfulness of your life, and the ‘little ways’ that you prayerfully love your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and new connections. By His design, it is possible for each of us to change the world by deciding to live for Christ.
In just the next ten minutes, imagine the worldwide ripple effects that could happen if…
- You start to read the Bible every day and apply what you learn to your life
- You challenge everyone in your small group to invite one new person to visit your church
- You start a Kickstarter (crowd funded) campaign for your favorite charity
- You invite everyone in your neighborhood to a party at your home
- You set aside one night a week to call an old friend and see how they are doing
- You begin to ask God, every morning, to inspire you to live a bolder life for His glory
- You share this post with your friends to inspire them (sorry, couldn’t resist)