How to Gain Control: Is It Worth a Cup of Coffee?

Too often we lack control. We lead our lives, dodge traffic, defer to a boss. Others seem to own all the power, including the traffic signal which tells us when to go and when to stay put. Those whose affection we want (or want to keep) have conditions for that love, stated or not, something they (not we) determine. But, we can take initiative; and, in our action, alter the landscape, make a difference: get some control. Combat feelings of helplessness.

The man in the brief video above, Karim Sulayman, is likely to give you encouragement, something always needed. Encouragement to take a chance and take control. Once spurred by his praiseworthy example, what then? What will we — the two of us — do with the “feel good” experience he offers? Will we be touched, but return to our daily lives unchanged, inert? Do we believe our voice is too small, too weak, too distant from the levers of authority?

I offer six specific ways to take action and be effective. This is outside my usual role here, but what I am about to suggest is within the ability of virtually all of you to act on, if you believe action is required to fight the status quo: to give you hope and to do some good.

The cost of a “freshly brewed,” medium size (grande) coffee from Starbucks is estimated at $2.39 as of today, in Illinois, my home state in the USA. This amounts to 1.93 GBP or 2.2 Euros. Within the reach, I hope, of all of you reading this. Yes, I’m about to ask you to do something with the monetary equivalent of a cup of coffee: to serve the good of some portion of the world that needs your good and mine, and that we (you and I) need for our own good.

Here are six of the many organizations which would benefit from your coffee-sized donation:

Doctors Without Borders

Committee to Protect Journalists

Southern Poverty Law Center

National Resources Defense Council

Equal Justice Initiative

Reach Out and Read

Many of you, I’m sure, are already doing your part. Many of you, I’m sure, are taking control of what you can, both to further your personal growth and repair the world. For those who might fall into my audience for this post, however, the following:

Turning away is possible. It is easy to set this aside and intend to address the matter tomorrow.  Someone else will take care of the problem, we think. My little effort won’t make a difference.

Edmund Burke thought otherwise:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Thanks to my friend Rosaliene Bacchus, Three Worlds One Vision, who made me aware of Mr. Sulayman’s video.

13 thoughts on “How to Gain Control: Is It Worth a Cup of Coffee?

  1. Done! Now, if I could only make every decision that quickly how productive I would be

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  2. Dr. Stein, thanks a bunch for showing your readers how we can also take control by supporting the work of countless individuals in the forefront of a vast number of issues.

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  3. Thank you, thank you! This post was heartwarming. I was in tears watching that video. Thank you so much for sharing, and for inspiring me to go out and do something for others. I’d love to do what the man in this video has done. Even by touching or inspiring one person, we’ve made a big difference.

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  4. Good time of year to remember this! Southern Poverty Law Center is on my list of pet advocacy groups since the Trump win. They will definitely get that ‘cup of coffee.’

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    • SPLC has been around since 1971 and is always a worthy cause, surely no less today. This comes from their website: “The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.” Glad to hear you support them.

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  5. Another lesson in the power of human kindness and connection, something that is important now more than ever. It really doesn’t take much to reach out to another. Thanks Gerald and also to you Rosaliene😓😍

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  6. A young college age friend sent me this Vimeo link a few weeks ago. It IS beautiful and powerful and I appreciate you putting it out there. What I liked about my young friend sending it to me is that he and other young people are paying attention. They need to listen, they need to be watchful, and they need toto be heard.
    And, yes, I have happily sent donations to several organizations (my favorite one in recent months has been the ACLU). There is a huge art installation / demonstration being planned for the Golden Gate Bridge on Inauguration Day. It would be hard for me to weather six or eight hours of standing on the bridge in what will likely be cold and foggy weather (access to a bathroom would be my first concern!) but I took the amount of money (plus a little extra) what I would spend in gasoline/parking/public transportation and sent it to the the Southern Poverty Law Center. I have always appreciated their Teaching Tolerance magazine for educators and I also think their legal team, much like the ACLU) can do more than I can do by myself. It was also poignant b/c the donor form asked if I wanted to send it as a tribute and I immediately thought of my father. He died 20 years ago but he was a man committed to tolerance and acceptance of all people. It seemed fitting to acknowledge him.
    Thank you for your blog posts. I hope they are as enjoyable to plan and write as they are to read.

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    • Good for your father and his good son. And, thank you for being a dedicated reader and for your much appreciated appreciation. As to the bathroom issue, I was told by someone who was among the reported millions who attended the Grant Park celebration of the Cubs that the mass of people prevented anyone from getting to the porta-potties with apparently unanticipated consequences. Ah, the indignities of life! Happy New Year, JT!

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