Every summer, at the majority of the workshops I teach–either with the Drum Major Academy or with Band Leadership Training–I teach a lesson this is essentially about getting to the center of life. It goes sort of like this:

After a march off and the chaotic congratulations that is bestowed upon the winner, I ask the group of students to sit down in a close knit group in front of me.  I say,

“Close your eyes. Picture a lake. The water is still. It appears to almost be glass or a mirror as it reflects everything around it.  See yourself standing on the bank of this lake.  See yourself bending over and picking up a rock. Now throw the rock as far as you can toward the center of the lake!  Look at the explosion of water and all the directions it goes. But look closer–look at how much energy there is near the center of the splash zone. Look how close together all the ripples of the water are.  There is so much energy there!

Now watch as the ripples move further and further away from the center of energy. Do you notice how much calmer they are, how farther apart they become from each other, how finally they lap against the shoreline one at a time, with very little energy left.

Now ask yourself this? Where was the most energy during the winner’s salute? In the center of the circle, right?  I look at each and everyone of you and say do whatever you can to get to the center of the circle. If you see someone standing alone at the back of the circle, grab their hand and help them to the center — where they with you can experience all the energy and be part of the energy!”

It’s a great anecdote and you see the excitement building on the faces of the students, students who want to play a significant role in leadership through service.

And all was right with the world until a friend of mine posted the following quote by the Dalai Lama:  “Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.”

As usual there are two sides to every story…and multiple consequences!  The energy must be positive and the ripples that spread out–the subsequent actions of individuals–must have a positive impact upon all those they reach.  That is, if you want positive changes and positive outcomes.  Sadly these same anecdotes, parables, etc., when used from a negative point of view will have the same impact–only 10 times over because negativity is far more persuasive than positivity.

So remember all actions have consequences and consider how you impact others in your life. You are, after all, the rock in this story.