Musings

Too Many Causes

There are so many causes to fight for. I feel pulled towards causes about birth interventions, childhood cancer, child abuse, poverty, providing food to those in need, healthy food and obesity, money — how to help people be more fiscally responsible, how to help the government be more fiscally responsible, race equality, gender equality, toxic chemicals in everyday items, etc.

As with many areas of our modern lives, causes are not immune to information overload. Since we are so connected in this day and age, it is easier than ever for people to get the word out about a certain travesty that is currently happening.

Do I want to prevent sexual assault? Yes! What about preventable illnesses and the overuse of medications? Yes and yes! HIV prevention, clean water, free education worldwide? Yes, yes, yes! Do I have time to support all of those causes? …no…

The problem with information overload is that our attention is spread a mile wide and an inch deep, instead of an inch wide and a mile deep. Meaning, if we spend a few minutes on each cause, it doesn’t do nearly as much good as spending our entire lives on one cause. Yet, when I don’t spend a few minutes to read about how pollution affects sea animals or how global warming is causing the sea level to rise, I feel guilty.

Let me get this straight. I should tune out everything else so that I can focus on the one thing that is most important to me so I will make the greatest strides in helping. But…if I tune everything out, I feel guilty?

There’s something inherently human about wanting to help others and wanting to give others a leg up. And yet, until the last few decades, it was nearly impossible to learn about every cause happening in every part of the world. You would look around your neighborhood, realize there were hungry kids and set up a garden where they’d learn to farm and work in return for food.

Not only do we have to fight the obvious time sucks of online games and stupid viral stories, we now have to fight the much less obvious time sucks of causes. Determine the causes that are most interesting to you and guard your focus wisely. Ignore everything else so you can focus on making a difference in an area that is most fulfilling to you.

Do you have any causes you support? Do agree that you should find a small few to support and ignore everything else?