An examination of the widely accepted belief that everyday citizens are powerless to effect positive change over the world’s issues.
With so many global crises, it can seem dishearteningly unlikely that anyone of modest means can effect meaningful change. LaMotte, author and musician, who has a master’s degree in International Studies Peace and Conflict Resolution, notes that as a culture, “we have come to a place where we equate cynicism with realism, and hope with naiveté.” While he does allow there is the alternative—naïve optimism—he asserts that living in hope isn’t naïve; he recommends “changing” not “fixing.” Additionally, while LaMotte doesn’t deny that there are times when larger efforts and sacrifices are necessary, he shows that, often, it’s the little things that count. Among other references, LaMotte compares the “Hero Narrative vs Movement Narrative” to illustrate how the Hero Narrative (“an extraordinary individual takes dramatic action in a moment of crisis”) doesn’t implement large-scale change nearly as effectively as the Movement Narrative (“many people taking small actions that contribute to a large shift”). Similar to the way a musician seems to suddenly appear with a hit record, few people realize that famous icons—Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.—had actually been working toward their goals for many years. For example, Rosa Parks’ bus incident wasn’t her first act of civil disobedience. While there are high-profile, outspoken people featured in the book, LaMotte makes a solid point that one doesn’t have to be a “radical activist” to make an impact. It’s not always the loudest voice doing all the work or making headway; rather, it’s also possible to support a cause and help effect change from behind the scenes. After many thoughtful, thought-provoking observations, as well as personal stories and relevant examples, LaMotte includes a section called “Pick One” that helps readers choose a cause and take the first steps in implementing a change.
Successfully illustrates that breaking things down into manageable pieces and making even the smallest effort can have a collective positive impact.