Here is What is Wrong with the World…

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I think I figured out what’s wrong with the world. It came to me in a sign this past weekend while riding my bike through Massachusetts. It wasn’t a spiritual awakening or a vision of the Virgin Mary in my french toast. Nothing like that. Just a sign. An actual street sign. It read:

“Please Make an Effort to Drive Safely”

It doesn’t seem like much. Certainly not worthy of being at the top of the list of things that need to be fixed in this world. Afterall, it was just a street sign. A pretty nice one as far as street signs go. But a street sign nonetheless.

But that doesn’t matter. It’s not about the sign. It’s not even about the words on the sign. It’s about their meaning.

Make an Effort

We as a society have gotten to the point where all we expect from you is the bare minimum. We don’t think you are capable of much more. We’re afraid to challenge you. We’re afraid to push you. We’re afraid to offend you. And we’re afraid to ask more of you.

So instead, we gently request that you be willing to make an effort. And that is enough. No more. No less. In fact, how about we just change the sign to read:

“If it’s not too much trouble, see if you could get home without killing someone.”

That’s what we really mean, isn’t it? Anything more than that would be an over achievement.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

But it’s not your fault. You are only doing what is being asked of you. What little we expect of you. It’s our fault. It’s our fault for not expecting more from you. It’s our fault for thinking you weren’t strong enough. Or good enough. Or smart enough. It’s our fault for assuming that you don’t want to be better. It’s our fault for thinking that you couldn’t take it. It’s our fault for not asking for your commitment. Better yet. For not demanding your commitment.

What if that sign read “Please Make a Commitment to Drive Safely” instead? How would that change it? What if you and your children passed that sign everyday? And read the word “commitment” instead of “effort” everyday? Day in. Day out. What would that mean over time?

Everything Changes

No. This isn’t about a sign. This isn’t about changing your language. This isn’t about your business. This isn’t even about you. This is about us.

All of us.

We’re all in this alone. But we’re all in this alone, together. At what point do we as a society stop making an effort and start making a commitment towards each other? At what point do we say the hard things because they are the right things to say? And do the hard things because they are the right things to do? At what point do we start to challenge each other to do more? To reach beyond ourselves? To see things differently?

Much differently.

At what point do we expect better from each other? And at what point do we actually get it?

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  • http://twitter.com/thejoshuawilner Joshua Wilner

    Your post made me think about how rare it is for people to return shopping carts to the “cart corral” or the front of the store. When they are done most just leave them wherever is convenient for them.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      That’s EXACTLY what I was going for! Mission accomplished! Thanks for the comment!!!!! :)

  • http://twitter.com/bennettdoneit Heather Bennett

    Virgin Mary in your french toast>LOL!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Glad you thought that was funny. I figured that comment could have gone horribly wrong!

  • Dad

    Nicely put son. Your article hit the nail right square on the head
    Dad

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks! I suppose the student has become the teacher, huh?

    • sonny boy

      thanks dad :o)

  • http://www.DiscreetInvestors.com/blog Roger King

    Nice, Mark! I agree. So what’s the first step in achieving total ‘World-Coolness’? How can we do it right now??

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Well, I suppose the first step would be to not wait so freaking long to respond to your comment :-/

  • Allan

    I honestly think this is amazing. Thank you so much. :)

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Allan! I appreciate it!

  • Nathasha aka audaciouslady

    Love it!!!!!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      You rock!

  • http://twitter.com/CoreyFreeman Corey Freeman

    I see this in my work all the time. Non-developers call themselves idiots and get outraged at the first sign of code. Some developers go soft and try to avoid basic code in any situation. But if you’re using a marketed “do it yourself” solution, perhaps you should learn to “do it yourself?”. That’s the focus of my efforts, at least. Newbie or not, you can learn.

    No more lowering the bar! Let’s learn and take responsibility!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Exactly! What do you think this place would look like if all of us took responsibility for our own actions instead of just looking for someone else to fix it for the rest of us.

  • Marsha

    Marc, I would love to use some of this in a blog post next week…”What’s Wrong with the World, What’s Right in the World.” Of course, giving you full credit. Let me know, please. Marsha @ splenderosa@gmail.com
    http://www.splenderosa.blogspot.com/

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Hi Marsha! Of course! As long as you don’t mind including a link back to the original post I’m in! Thanks for thinking of me!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marsha-Harris/100001530219559 Marsha Harris

        Thank you, Marc !! Of course, I’ll link back to you. I think you made a very valid point in this article, and I would love for my readers to share this information. After all, you’re right. Marsha

  • Alexandrea

    there is more wrong with he world than that
    the world is over populated more every second
    economy got worse since a certain someone went into office in america
    people kill eachother cause of what the other person is wearing

    people dont give a shit about the other person
    africa is a mess
    america is a mess
    crims will get guns, law abiding citizens dont
    and the list goes on and on

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Agreed. So, what are you going to do about it? Get out there and make a difference!

  • Govenor

    At what point don’t you understand that the laws that are put in place keep us held down so that we can’t do more of the things we need to make those commitments stick where they count. The problem in the world is lack of respect and compassion from lack of nessary disapline. To many laws have effected the core value system to the point of total disfunction and destruction.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      So, what would you suggest?

      • BroadcastingSunny

        hee hee for someone who thinks the world has a lack of DISCIPLINE and it’s NECESSARY, I think he may need a little discipline in spelling – and this is coming from someone who is a horrible speller.

        • kenneth doll

          I’l tel u wats rong with the world, and this is cumming from a good speler. Evil peeple are geting mor outragus, as they start trubble with peeple they no they can beat. Butt, the REAL Problem? Red ants. Teh’re always biting and leaving marks on me that itch real bad. Red ants. . .think about it!

          • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

            Red ants totally suck.

  • Edkick

    What’s wrong with this world is that Islam is taking more extremist and waging wars on our societies and way of life.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      This comment is too ignorant to be worthy of a response.

      • Joseph Boujna

        You should learn more about Islam to see how beautiful it is .

        • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

          Nicely put Joseph!

  • BroadcastingSunny

    If that’s all that’s wrong with the world, that would be cool. Not sure if this is metaphorical or not. With that said, as a driver and a biker and a pedestrian, I see everyone make mistakes. I think the problem here is you are pointing at just one person – the driver. (And I’m sure they’re pointing back). Here we have a problem with bikers not stopping at their stop sign or coming to a very fast rolling stop that the drivers think they are not stopping swerve out of the way then crash. And I repeat the bikers have a stop sign AND they have a sign telling them that the stop sign is coming. No one has been hurt, knock on wood, but many cars end up in ditches or in sign posts – biker no where to be seen. When I bike with my kids we stop a good 10 feet from the road and walk up. I have many times been behind groups of bikers taking up the road, I have seen bikers on major highways. In the end, humans make mistakes, whether they are bikers or drivers :). I always say, you know if they are a good person in how they handle their mistakes.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      It’s metaphorical. The fact that we have to be politically correct in saying “make an effort” in order to avoid offending people.

  • Ashley

    Having to dumb down and/or change society so everyone is is on the same level, so everyone is treated the same. I think as new generations are coming up, equality is being taken to a whole new level. Just look at the education system; there are countless methods that are completely different from traditional math.

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