Friday, October 16, 2015

Raise Your Voice- Blog Action Day 2015

Today is Blog Action Day (BAD) and this year’s theme is “Raise Your Voice”.  Today thousands of bloggers and different organizations from around the world will be writing about it for the 8th annual Blog Action Day on October 16, 2015. Every year Blog Action Day raises awareness about a specific theme and it is always a chance to be a part of something bigger than ourselves to feel that you can make a difference in the world around you. This year’s theme of “Raise Your Voice” really resonates with me on a variety of levels, all of which I will describe.

I’ve been taking part in Blog Action Day since the first one back in 2007 and I’m happy to continue my involvement.  Every year the theme’s build upon with has come before and this year’s theme seems especially so, I’d even say that it is at the core of making changes in our world. In order to make changes someone first needs to speak up to “Raise Their Voice”. We live in a world of instant results and instant gratification, and where most people won’t chase after the big dreams. There is a lot of apathy everywhere and the overall feeling that you see is that “one person can’t make a difference”, “you can’t fight city hall”, “we’ve always done it this way”, “it will never work”, and the list of excuses we tell our selves seems to grow larger. But change has to start somewhere. I’m reminded of a story that I’ve heard several times in my life.

There were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

(note: you can find the story was summarized here). What escapes most of us a lot of the time is that we’re all “somebody” and sometimes we need to be the one to raise our voice when other are afraid or seem unwilling. That first voice gets momentum going and once momentum is going it is a whole lot easier to get others to join in on a movement and when the momentum is going fast enough, people will question what took so long and how come it didn’t start sooner. While momentum is no guarantee of success, if that first person doesn’t raise their voice, there is no inertia. In physics I was taught that a body at rest tends to stay at rest while a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

I’ve been very active in Toastmasters the last few years and one of the things that has stuck with me from Toastmasters is that we all have a voice. In the beginning many of us are afraid to use it before a crowd. Many of us spend a lot of time trying to find our voice. What is it we have to say? What is our message? Toastmasters provides a laboratory where you can practice using your voice, you can make mistakes, and people will support you.  We’re all human and everybody makes mistakes, don’t let the stop you from raising your voice. If you’d like to practice using your voice you’re welcome to visit any Toastmaster club, but I hope that you’ll take the chance to practice using your voice and to find your voice.

Sometimes our world today seems overly complex and overwhelming but when we’re in need of inspiration it can be found everywhere. We’re blessed to be able to see thousands of motivating videos by inspiring people on YouTube. We can find words of wisdom on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes you need to tune out all the noise but it is there for you to find.

Our world is full of people who are unable (or initially unwilling) to raise their voice, but human history if full of unlikely people who raised their voices and eventually others joined. If you look at Gandhi and Rosa Parks, who would have thought that these two could ever have accomplished what they did.  I encourage you to be Somebody! Have a look at the Blog Action Day website, look around the web to see what people are doing for Blog Action Day 2015, you can also look for #BAD2015, #Bad15, #BlogAction15, #RaiseYourVoice,  #FreeToWrite, #JustABlogger, and Blog Action Day as hashtags and keywords. Be Somebody and “Raise Your Voice”!

The Future is not yet written, Let's build it together!


Photo Credits: "Gandhi Graffiti San Francisco" is from here. "Rosa Parks Booking" is from here.