be the hinge for others

How to Be The Hinge For Others

In 2009, photographer, Jitu Kalita was exploring a barren river island in India named Majuli Island.

What amazed Jitu was that after miles of desolate space, he came across something strange; a massive dense forest. He met a man during his exploration, Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly planted and cultivated the forest, which was now larger than the size of Central Park.

As a kid, Payeng found hundreds of dead, curled up snakes that had been washed away by flood rains and massive erosion with no shade to protect them. From this hinge moment, the then 16-year-old boy simply began planting seeds on this island.

Jadav Payeng began planting trees in 1979 on the island that housed approximately 150,000 people. His level of patience was incredible. 

Jadav, over the course of 40 years, tirelessly created a vast forest that spans over 1300 acres. Today, the island houses over one hundred elephants, a hundred deer, five Royal Bengal tigers, wild boars, several species of birds, including vultures and pelicans, many one-horned rhinoceroses, and of course snakes.

Jadav Payeng became known as the “Forest Man of India” for his continued effort. 

Jadav’s work and passion for his daily routine transformed his entire environment. Remember, If you want to change the way you feel, change your environment.

Most of us will not follow in his footsteps, but we can still plant trees!

Every transaction we have with someone else has the potential to be transformational. We don’t know which acts or gestures will be the hinge for others, so every person and transaction is the most important.

We may not develop a transformational encounter with someone at the cash register, but of course, isn’t it nice when we enter a store and they know our coffee order or remember our name. In those cases, our transactions became transformational and relational. We become connected. 

On the simplest level, we each have the potential in our lives to positively impact everyone we encounter by planting trees that we will never see. 

One of the ways I do this is during my long training runs. I simply wave and acknowledge others. 

These people in my wake, in the early morning hours are putting forth their best effort, running, getting after it, and my way to be the hinge for others is to wave and/or say ‘hello.” The wave or hello may not seem important, but it makes a connection.

It’s simple, not hard, and I’ll never know the impact! But, I believe in my core, that we all need an acknowledgement and to feel worthy and recognizable.

This simple act of the wave establishes the possibility that the beneficiary will extend it further to someone else.

While it is impossible to know the impact simple, generous acts; the effect is invaluable. However, if we hold back and do not extend to connect with those around us, then there can’t be any positive impact. The Hinge can’t connect that way. 

“We do not know the impact of our actions, but if we take no action, there will be no results.”- Gandhi 

After the pandemic struck however, I noticed more and more people who would also wave back. I think it is a key to keeping our sanity during these times.

We actually want to plant trees that we will see and enjoy ourselves. However, planting trees that we will never see, means doing actions because it is the right thing to do, not because of the reaction or non-reaction we get from someone else. If we wave, acknowledge, support, and are generous to enough people, then we eventually will receive the reciprocation.

The theme about being the hinge for others is that we give away the mindset that we possess ourselves.

If we want more confidence, or focus, or patience, or kindness, then only by helping others with that specific skill will we actually improve upon it. That’s why no one gets there alone. 

How will you be the hinge for others? 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.