This is something I posted at a forum some years ago, I thought it time to repeat… with updates and additions 🙂
Somebody Else’s Problem.
One of the biggest problems on this planet…
…is that too many people see a problem – and DO NOTHING.
How many times have you said to yourself, “Oh that is too bad”?
And then done NOTHING. Dismissed it as “Somebody else’s problem”.
Individually we cannot take on all the problems on this planet.
But, we CAN make a difference.
Even as little as once a month YOU made a difference in just one other persons life?
It does not even need to be a BIG thing. It does not need to be something that takes significant money, time or effort.
Most people think it takes time and money to make a difference – many problems DO require this, and if you have it to spare that is wonderful. But even if you do not have time or money to spare – you can still make a difference.
Start – Work on eliminating your “Somebody else’s problem” attitude.
So! How many times have you seen that someone is making a mistake or behaving badly and said to yourself, “Oh that is too bad”?
And then done NOTHING. Dismissed it as “Not my problem, let somebody else deal with it”.
STOP PRETENDING that there is nothing you can do.
Tell them they are making a mistake or behaving badly.
Warn other people so they do not get involved and suffer from this mistake or bad behaviour.
ZERO TOLERANCE, not allowing mistakes and bad behaviour to go unchecked would eliminate SO MANY problems
What if EVERYBODY did this?
How many problems could be eliminated
I know how unpopular I am with many people.
I know how many people wish I would shut up and go away.
Because I tell people things they do not want to be told, things they are trying to ignore.
Because I tell people things they are ignorant of and they wish it had stayed that way.
Because I tell things that someone wants everybody to be ignorant of, so they can profit from this ignorance .
Now, just imagine if EVERYBODY did this. Eventually it would become accepted as what it is…
An act of kindness. It is out of kindness and respect for the spirit of humanity that we should NOT tolerate mistakes and bad behaviour.
If you think this is difficult, start small – if you see someone making a mistake – tell them.
I know from experience that some will resent this and tell you to ” go xxxx yourself”.
And some will appreciate it. Either way you can know you made a difference for that person.
I am not saying do this all the time, don’t go looking for it, that would be too much to take on.
Just do it when it is there in front of you, do not turn your back on it and pretend that there is nothing you can do so you can then dismiss it as “Somebody else’s problem”.
One of my favourite stories
The old man replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. The sun is shining. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
The young man said, “Don’t you realize there are hundreds of miles of beach and thousands of starfish? – You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the old man bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.
Then, smiling at the young man, he said… “I made a difference for that one.”
The Buddha, on Justice. Extract from “The Gospel Of Buddha” by Paul Carus
…Simha continued: “I am a soldier, O Blessed One, and am appointed by the king to enforce his laws and to wage his wars. Does the Tathāgata who teaches kindness without end and compassion with all sufferers, permit the punishment of the criminal? and further, does the Tathāgata declare that it is wrong to go to war for the protection of our home our wives, our children, and our property? Does the Tathāgata teach the doctrine of a complete self-surrender, so that I should suffer the evil-doer to do what he pleases and yield submissively to him who threatens to take by violence what is my own? Does the Tathāgata maintain that all strife, including such warfare as is waged for a righteous cause, should be forbidden?”.
15 The Buddha replied: “He who deserves punishment must be punished, and he who is worthy of favor must be favored. Yet at the same time he teaches to do no injury to any living being but to be full of love and kindness. These injunctions are not contradictory, for whosoever must be punished for the crimes which he has committed, suffers his injury not through the ill-will of the judge but on account of his evil-doing. His own acts have brought upon him the injury that the executer of the law inflicts. When a magistrate punishes, let him not harbor hatred in his breast, yet a murderer, when put to death, should consider that this is the fruit of his own act. As soon as he will understand that the punishment will purify his soul, he will no longer lament his fate but rejoice at it.”
16 And the Blessed One continued: “The Tathāgata teaches that all warfare in which man tries to slay his brother is lamentable, but he does not teach that those who go to war in a righteous cause after having exhausted all means to preserve the peace are blameworthy. He must be blamed who is the cause of war.
17 “The Tathāgata teaches a complete surrender of self, but he does not teach a surrender of anything to those powers that are evil, be they men or gods or the elements of nature. Struggle must be, for all life is a struggle of some kind. But he that struggles should look to it lest he struggle in the interest of self against truth and righteousness.
18 “He who struggles in the interest of self, so that he himself may be great or powerful or rich or famous, will have no reward, but he who struggles for righteousness and truth, will have great reward, for even his defeat will be a victory.
19 “Self is not a fit vessel to receive any great success; self is small and brittle and its contents will soon be spilt for the benefit, and perhaps also for the curse, of others.
20 “Truth, however, is large enough to receive the yearnings and aspirations of all selves and when the selves break like soap-bubbles, their contents will be preserved and in the truth they will lead a life everlasting.
21 “He who goeth to battle, O Simha, even though it be in a righteous cause, must be prepared to be slain by his enemies, for that is the destiny of warriors; and should his fate overtake him he has no reason for complaint.
22 “But he who is victorious should remember the instability of earthly things. His success may be great, but be it ever so great the wheel of fortune may turn again and bring him down into the dust.
23 “However, if he moderates himself and, extinguishing all hatred in his heart lifts his down-trodden adversary up and says to him, ‘Come now and make peace and let us be brothers,’ he will gain a victory that is not a transient success, for its fruits will remain forever.
24 “Great is a successful general, O Simha, but he who has conquered self is the greater victor.
25 “The doctrine of the conquest of self, O Simha, is not taught to destroy the souls of men, but to preserve them. He who has conquered self is more fit to live, to be successful, and to gain victories than he who is the slave of self.
26 “He whose mind is free from the illusion of self, will stand and not fall in the battle of life.
27 “He whose intentions are righteousness and justice, will meet with no failure, but be successful in his enterprises and his success will endure.
28 “He who harbors in his heart love of truth will live and not die, for he has drunk the water of immortality.
29 “Struggle then, O general, courageously; and fight thy battles vigorously, but be a soldier of truth and the Tathāgata will bless thee.”
30 When the Blessed One had spoken thus, Simha, the general, said: “Glorious Lord, glorious Lord! Thou hast revealed the truth. Great is the doctrine of the Blessed One. Thou, indeed, art the Buddha, the Tathāgata, the Holy One. Thou art the teacher of mankind. Thou showest us the road of salvation, for this indeed is true deliverance. He who follows thee will not miss the light to enlighten his path. He will find blessedness and peace. I take my refuge, Lord, in the Blessed One, and in his doctrine, and in his brotherhood. May the Blessed One receive me from this day forth while my life lasts as a disciple who has taken refuge in him.”