17 October 2005

Yes, Mr Wang Agrees

ST, Oct 17, 2005
Walk the talk, please
By Mazuin Khamis

IT REALLY irritates me when people talk and write passionately about the recent spate of natural tragedies but do nothing to help.

What is the point of 'feeling so deeply for others' if it does not spur us into action? Talk is good, but just pretty words will not help an orphan in Kashmir, Aceh or New Orleans.

Some might say: 'But these places are so far away! I really want to help, but how can I?'

Well, I was offered the chance to join a Singaporean team travelling to tsunami-hit Aceh and help out sometime this year. But I did not go.

I was apprehensive that, with the outpouring of international aid, I would end up hampering aid efforts.

I wanted to offer my help where it was truly needed - right here at home, where we have many pressing charity cases as well.

My point is: You can always help if you want to. And you do not have to wait for a disaster to happen.

It should not require great tragedies like last year's tsunami for one to realise that no man is an island.

It is not the scale of the disaster, the media coverage or even the death toll that matters.

What is really important is that people help others who are less fortunate, whether in big or small ways.

Big words and philosophy are fine, but there is really no excuse for saying you want to help but cannot.

The writer graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic last year

This article reminds me of the part of Stephen Covey's book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" where Covey writes about the concept of a Circle of Concern and a Circle of Influence. For most of us, the things that we are concerned about (represented by our Circle of Concern) far exceed the things that we are actually able to influence (represented by our Circle of Influence).

To be highly effective people, we need to be proactive. To be proactive, we need to stop wasting time on the things we are concerned about but cannot control. Instead we need to focus our efforts on the things that we can control and influence (ie the things in our Circle of Influence) - yes, and on expanding our Circle of Influence.

Click here for more info about the Circles.

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