Agnes asks the question of the day

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 10.52.58 AM
Gru says goodnight to Agnes.

Four of us went movie-going yesterday – two adults, two kids. We donned our 3D glasses, cozied up to some popcorn, and settled in for Despicable Me 2. My movie watching has been severely limited the past few years, so I hadn’t seen the  original. I met the characters for the first time, and while I had a couple of favorites in the bunch, Agnes inspired this post.

Gru is our hero, super-villain turned anti-villain, and Agnes is the youngest of his three daughters. Without giving too much away, Gru finds himself sad and unsure of what he can do about something that feels out of his control.

He admits his sadness to the intuitive little one, and in an effort to comfort him, Agnes poses two questions:

  1. Is there anything I can do? (No).
  2. Is there anything *you* can do?

This second question resonated with Gru, who was sparked to action as a result. It moved the story forward and it moves me forward as well, whenever I feel similarly overwhelmed.

Materially, realizing there was something he could do didn’t change Gru’s situation all that much. On the other hand, realizing there was something he could do changed his attitude, and helped him uncover potential in what seemed a hopeless state of affairs. Spotting that potential and then taking the next step gave him power when he was otherwise powerless. And sometimes that’s all we need.

Realizing we can’t do everything but we can, at least, do something, can help us gain perspective. We can then take action rather than being defeated in our hearts, settling for nothing at all. The next time you’re in a rut, or feeling overwhelmed by adversity, think about Agnes, and ask yourself what you can do. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, but is there anything you can do? If so, get to it!

We cannot do everything at once,
but we can do something at once.
~Calvin Coolidge.

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