Thursday, August 25, 2011

Everything you do Matters

You may not know it, but everything you do matters.

Every mistake.

Every victory.

Every word.

Everything you do matters because choices have consequences; some make life better and some make it worse. And with our busy lifestyles today, I think we forget how important we are to others. I think we lose track of the power of our words, our actions, and at times, our inaction. 

Recently, my nine-year old daughter sent a letter to Bethany Hamilton, the young lady who lost her arm in a surfing accident in 2003. My daughter was so inspired by the movie, Soul Surfer, that all she could talk about this summer was surfing, the ocean, and Bethany Hamilton. Then when she discovered that she could join Bethany's fan club, oh my gosh, you would've thought she won the lottery. 

A couple weeks later, my precious little nine-year old gets a letter in the mail with a return address from Hawaii. To our surprise, Bethany sent posters, post cards of Hawaii, and even wrote a personalized response to my daughter's letter that included a prayer regarding questions she asked about surfing. My little girl was ecstatic and I was floored.

I had to watch the movie and find out what this surfer chick was all about. 

Of course, I cried. 

The movie was great, but the message is what really stuck with me. 

The message: We might experience the greatest moments imaginable, but we could also be dealt a devastating blow when we least expect it. How we respond to those moments matters. And Bethany responded beautifully. At her lowest point she was ready to give in, to quit surfing, and drop out of life all together, but she didn't. When she read through the fan mail and letters of support that came in by the truck loads, she realized that she had a unique opportunity to influence and inspire. 

The point I want to make is that everyone of us has a unique opportunity to influence and inspire. If you work and live with people, every word you say has the power to encourage or beat down. Your words matter. 

If you're a coach, you can inspire greatness or generate defeat. Your methods matter. 

If you're a parent, you can communicate love and acceptance. Your parenting style matters. 

If you're a writer, you can stir imaginations and inspire thinking. Your prose matters.

Teens, the way you treat others can change the world, because one kind word can stop a suicide. 

Everything you do matters, today, every minute, every second. 

We often rush through the day without thinking about our potential to influence the world around us. When we forget, we stop living with purpose and we start living within ourselves, a place that usually impacts others in a negative way. So take a minute before you say or do anything else and focus on the people around you. Then, make a conscious effort to  inspire and encourage, smile, give a hug, don't complain, work harder, plan better - live intentionally.

You may not have a million fans, but if you live your life like it matters, you'll have more than you thought possible. Just ask Bethany.  

Jeff Bennington
Author of Reunion & other thrillers


  1. That is so sweet! You're right, even the littlest things we do make a huge difference for those around us. So smile and choose to be happy. Great blog, thanks for the reminder!

  2. This is very powerful! Definitely a needed reminder that I will be sure to remember. I am currently teaching English in South Korea for a year, just started about a month ago and this is something I need to remember. I can do great things and truly make a difference, which was one of my goals in coming here and one that can be easy to forget in day to day life. To hear more about my adventures and goals that I blogged about, visit my blog at:

    Also, as a reader and writer, I always hope to inspire others with my words in whatever small way I can, check out my fairly new book blog (with more to come on writing as well) here:

    Will definitely be back to visit, loving this blog!

  3. This is beautiful. And so true. Everything you do matters. It's your choice to make life better or to make it worse. Everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn't mean they can't fix those mistakes. :)

    Thank you for this!

  4. Angela, Thank you for visiting.

    Jennifer, That is so cool what you are doing. What an experience; something you and many of your students will never forget!

    Thanks for dropping. Mistakes are old, influencing your world is about now and the future. "It's your choice to make life better." - excellent!

  5. Jeff, simply put - your writing is truly heartfelt and inspirational! Thank you.

  6. Great story.

    Another thing to remember is that if a writer does inspire us, go ahead and let them know. Writing is such a solitary thing it's nice to know what we do has an impact.

  7. Reading this gave me chills. Thank you for the reminder, what we matter what it is you do.

  8. A touching story and a refreshing real-life role model. I'll even confess to reading Bethany's book after seeing the movie. :)

    You raise some good points, Jeff, and are right to remind us that we could all stand to be a bit more mindful of our impact and responsibility towards those in our daily worlds.

  9. Jeff reminds us of how we are all like ripples on the water of Life. Throw a stone, watch what happens. Everything we say or do, every action, every choice we make, will affect someone. What sickens me is how someone can and will actually derive pleasure from their cause and effect; toss out the chum, then sit back and watch the shark-fest.
    I strive to live by the philosophy, " walk in someone's else's moccasins, is to know how they feel..."
    Say it, forget it. Write it, regret it. But sometimes, a random careless comment, whether under one's breath, or in a text, will do more damage, never to be erased. The recipient may then take it out on the next unwitting person closest to them...
    Ripple effects.

  10. I loved this post so much. I remember Bethany's story so well -- when it happened and the astounding courage she showed afterward. It is wonderful, but not surprising, that she gave so much attention to your daughter. How wonderful.

    The overall message of this blog is really terrific. Thanks!

  11. LJ, Thanks for that comment. Your support is so appreciated.

    Struggling. Thanks for visiting. And you are exactly right, writing can be a lonely place, and for me, it would worse if it were not for twitter and FB where other writers are experiencing the same. Peace.

    Jason, I thought I'd see you here. After all, your writing is very much intentional.

    Sandra. Well put. I don't get intentional cruelty either. Thanks for the comment.

  12. Thanks Lisette, I appreciate your thoughts on the blog. And its true, bethany's story is not only amazing, but her conscious decision to use her circumstance for good is an example for all of us! Thanks for visiting!

  13. I've lived by the creed, this mentality for as long as I could remember. Well, I mean, I was taught that our thoughts turn into actions and our actions inspire others in so many ways-good or bad as well.

    I can associate so much with this as I write the same message. Often. I make it a point that everything I post will be edifying to the reader, no matter what...and I have seen the fruits of my "labor". It is humbling and reminds that yes, everything we do, matters.

    I thank you for writing and I pray that we continue to write bravely!


  14. I haven't cried at a movie in years, but I could not stop myself when we watched Soul Surfer. It was a tear-jerker for all the best reasons. What courage Bethany possesses, and her whole family shows. I didn't even know that Bethany had written a book, so I'm going to check that out. And, Jeff, I feel like God has been sending me this similar message for several days now, so I'm going to listen. It's always great to be reminded that we hold the ability to help others. Thank you :)

  15. This is an inspiring post! Thanks for sharing and reminding me of all that is important--those that surround us and love us no matter what--family, friend, or stranger. They're all gifts.

  16. Hi Tymothy, Brenda and Katherine

    You three are also a reminder to me of the power of words. I'm glad I could inspire and connect with you. Keep writing, you never know who your words will touch.


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