If you take any major circumstance in your life, you can trace its history back to a point where a tiny change would have made it all different. It’s possible that tiny change might even be before you were born, but it’s still there. Somewhere out there is a man who stared at airplanes flying in the sky his whole childhood and then grew up to become a pilot; if his bedroom had been on the other side of the house he’d have seen the train yard instead and maybe become an engineer.

At some point, you met someone who changed your life. Maybe you’re very aware of it and maybe you have no idea, but it happened. Maybe your parents’ first meeting was quite the chance encounter, and one late bus could have meant you were never born.

We think of the history of our lives as resilient – as if the way it’s unfolded so far is the way it must always have unfolded. But the tiniest changes could have re-written the whole tapestry.

That applies to the future, too. Tiny changes can have incredible, far-reaching impacts if they occur early enough.

Sometimes we get a chance to do a small favor, and even though the effort is low, it’s equally easy to not do it. The reward seems minor, even inconsequential.

Do it anyway. Send that email, make that call, lend that dollar. We can’t possibly predict all the long-term consequences of all of our actions, but I’m willing to bet that if you make more of your actions good and kind and generous than not, that the long-term effects will trend that way too. It might be three generations before it happens, but someday someone will say that you’re the reason their life is good.

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