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Saturday, February 4, 2017

The incredible power of 1



IF THIS LOOKS LIKE TWO PLANETS WITH God's hand holding earth, you're wrong! The small object 'God's' hand is holding is a hummingbird egg. Beside it is a chicken egg (thinking sunny side up) and an ostrich egg.

This is the double-deck cantilever Richmond-San Rafael Bridge that crosses the San Francisco bay and San Pablo bay to majestic Marin County California from Tony Bennett's favorite city. It is 5.5 miles in length and 185 feet above the water at its tallest point. It was completed in 1957, 30 years after it was first proposed. And as all things in salt water environments that carry 24-hour-a day-heavy traffic, it needs considerable reworking to the tune of $70 million.
So if these two objects--the quarter-inch humming bird egg and this magnificent almost-wonder of the world bridge had a serious face-off, who would win?
Hint: do not bet against the egg. Especially an egg from the species, Anna's Hummingbird, protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which, to my knowledge has not yet been reversed by President Trump. The nest, about half the size of a fist, was discovered just a week before work on the bridge was to begin. Until the egg hatches, there will be no reworked bridge. 
(Actually, I'm for the hummingbird. As I would paraphrase my mom's recitation of Joyce Kilmer's Trees, "... bridge are made by fools like me but only God can make a hummingbird." Loses a little in translation but I still like it. Thanks mom.)
Ah, the incredible POWER OF ONE!
And what about David and Goliath? Now there's another story with a scenario you may not know. In his book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, And the Art of Battling Giants, Malcolm Gladwell gives his perception of that classic battle with a newer... and believable back story.
Goliath was a giant of his day... 6 feet 7 inches tall. He was a man of men... a force to be feared. No one dare challenge this killing machine. So when the Philistine warrior issued a not uncommon man-to-man challenge to the Israelites as a way settle their conflict, no Israelite would step forward. Goliath chided the opposition until David, the shepherd boy, asked to be the one, much to the doubt and dispair of the Israelites. The battle hinged on this unfair conflict... giant and hardened, fully armored warrior verses a simple, unarmored shepherd boy, winner take all.

David picked up five smooth stones and put them in his pocket. Goliath was fully armed and protected showing no apparent weakness. As the two approached one another, Goliath with his second leading the way and David, alone and bearing nothing but a sling and stones, the outcome seemed never in doubt.

Yet, Gladwell theorizes, a shepherd with a sling was most proficient in protecting his sheep against wolves and any other peril with a sling that could propel a rock with great accuracy at the speed of today's bullet. He practiced daily and used the sling to get his food and against those creatures who would harm his flock.

Goliath taunted David to come closer. David stood his ground. 
David was agile, Goliath slow moving and clumsy, ladened with heavy armor. This was not the way fights are fought in Goliath's world.
Gladwell perceives from the retelling of the story that Goliath was not a well man, most likely suffering from the effects of his enormous frame and lacking of medical help and eyeglasses not yet invented. His vision was failing and he needed his second to show him where David was approaching. 

When David held back, the giant called for him to come closer to better see and grab hold of the slight shepherd boy. Once in Goliath's grip, no mortal was a match.

But David kept his distance as he took one stone and placed it in his sling. He whirled the sling with rock around his head, it's speed increased dramatically until, at the exact right moment when David let loose of one end of the sling, propelling the rock to Goliath's only opening, his forehead.

The stone struck true and Goliath staggered and fell. Quickly, David reached Goliath's sword and beheaded the fallen giant. He then held the severed head up in victory, much to the disbelief of the Philistine army, which retreated in panic.

The underdog by biblical standards had vanquished Goliath. The power this of one changed history.


Interesting thing about The Power of 1... it can be blantantly obvious or so subtle that you might not even know when or how its effect is felt. It often manifests itself without knowledge or conscious effort... like being a good example, or smiling to a passer-by who needs a smile. It can be overwhelmingly incredible like grabbing hold of a stranger's elbow as he is about to step off the curb into an approaching car or slaying a giant, metaphoric or real. It makes a difference...often an amazing difference. 
Want more totally amazing real life examples:

Their names are Violet and Allen Large of Nova Scotia and you probably never heard of them... but that's the thing about the Power of 1... heroic actions are usually not notable for who, but what and how. Being a hero is often a selfless, quiet action that positively affects others. Though Violet is currently fighting cancer,  the Larges, who won $11 million in a lottery, donated the entire amount for various causes including their local fire department, hospitals and organizations that fight cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes. Said Allen, "The money that we won was nothing. We have each other." 

Hollywood has a neat way of showcasing the Power of 1. Movies (and television, books, etc.) can show the perspective of all the characters and showcase cause and effect actions. How about It's a Wonderful Life that was built around the greatness of George Bailey in the way he lived his life of personal character without ever realizing the positive effect he had on those he touched. (I love that movie.)

An organ donor highlighted in the news recently, saved a dozen strangers... and the film clip showed the donor's wife listening with awe and wonder to her deceased husband's heart beating in another's chest. Very powerful. (You an organ donor? You should be.)

  The Power of 1 in hearts and minds often enriches both giver and receiver... but the giver always seems to benefits most.

Most of us will soon celebrate the upcoming Easter season because of one man born about 2000 years ago. Need a better example of the Power of 1?

May this year strengthen your resolve to unleash your Power of 1 for a richer you.

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