July 18, 2022 | Issue #25
1 Quote. 1 Reflection. 1 Question.
"Washing one's hand of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be netural."
From: Paulo Freire
Growing up you have been taught to stand up for what's right by your teachers and parents. For 18 years you had constant reminders and were surrounded by kids who were drilled the same lesson.
But when you broke through the sheltered bubble into this new adult world, it became harder to implement these lessons. You are in a new uncharted world where you are a small fish in a big pond.
Getting started in the workplace you are at the bottom of the food chain. You are expected to just do your job, keep your head down, and fly under the radar.
In your new social group. You are outnumbered and your opinion is suffocated by the majority. You bite your tongue and avoid edgy conversations to keep the group happy.
In your new city, you notice everyone is in their own world as if they are walking within personal bubbles shut off from the sites and sounds around them. In this place, it's okay to numb yourself from the chaos around you.
However, there are countless examples of brave people standing up against the powerful majority for the sake of what's right.
In the workplace, Samuel Shaw and Richard Marven stood up for what was right. They were part of a small group of men who had witnessed their commanding officer torture prisoners of war and reported their commander for his actions. Instead of being treated as brave soldiers they were dismissed from the Navy and arrested for their reports. However, in the end, their bravery in standing up against the Navy led to America's first whistleblower act.
In the social setting, Alexander Solzhenitsyn stood up against an entire country and idealogy. His book, The Gulag Archipelago, was written using eye-witness testimonies and his own personal accounts of the horrors of life in the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system. His book has sold millions of copies and is widely considered an instrumental place in bringing down the Soviet Union.
Even in the giant city of Chicago, there are individuals refusing to follow in the footsteps of the public. Last month, 20-year-old Anthony Perry saved an unconscious man who had fallen on an electrified train rail. When reports asked him why he did it he responded
"The guy didn't have control of his body, so I really felt like if I didn't help him, who will help? Everyone was just standing around recording."
Your stand doesn't have to be heroic because all that matters is that it happened.
What small action can you take this week to prepare yourself for your stand?
ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER
The 1-Step Forward Newsletter is a weekly Sunday newsletter.
Each issue contains 1 Quote, 1 Reflection, and 1 Question each meant to guide you on the next step forward in your life towards improvement.
July 24 (newer)
"Man cannot possess anything as long as he fears death. But to him who does not fear it, everything belongs. If there was no suffering, man would not know his limits, would not know himself." - Leo Tolstoy
July 10 (older)
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson