The Gesture
Maximum Leverage

Today, on this Full Moon, a cosmic condition that has so many times accompanied some of my more significant thoughts and deeds, I have at last realized the Holy Grail of Human Endeavor, something that I have been pursuing for many years, and that I felt could be my greatest legacy. I had no idea that the search would take me so long, or that it would have so many false paths, or that the answer itself would be so obvious.

Any man, simple or great, can lift a rock and put it on a pile, and in so doing build something of lasting value. It may be a tribute to his God, as in building a cathedral, or it may be a memorial to a loved one, as with a grave. Likewise, any man could lift a rock and kill another human being, and that act could be in self defense or in persecution. All acts of humans, even the simplest of acts, can have either negligible or enormous significance to themselves, and the rest of humanity, either positive or negative.

With such an infinite variety of activities available to us, what is the thing we can do that will have the Maximum Positive Effect, for the world at large, and for ourselves?

It pleases me to report that on this day I have finally, after much searching, study, and analysis, found this one singular act.

At first, I thought that I would need to Invent this great thing. It had not occurred to me that it already exists. I thought that something so powerful could not possibly exist and yet be unknown, undiscovered. But it does exist, and it has always existed as long as the human species has existed. Every single one of us has the ability to conjure up this truly magical power. In fact, it is one of the first things we learn to do, but over time we lose track of its significance, and we are worn down by the stuff of life until we no longer recognize the magic, the incredible power we have at our disposal.


The concept of Leverage is from the study of Physics. Yet it is also one of the first things we learn how to use to our personal advantage. Consider the following:

Definition of leverage

noun: strategic advantage; power to act effectively
(Example: "Relatively small groups can sometimes exert immense political leverage")
noun: the mechanical advantage gained by being in a position to use a lever
verb: provide with leverage
Example: "We need to leverage this company"
verb: supplement with leverage
Example: "Leverage the money that is already available"

The Greek Archimedes, generally regarded as the greatest mathematician and scientist of antiquity and one of the three greatest mathematicians of all time, is famous for his understanding of Leverage, and he is immortalized in his words: "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world". Later, he added the caveat: "Give me a place to stand and I will move the world."


Definition of Gesture

(Merriam-Webster Dictionary
1 : a movement usually of the body or limbs that expresses or emphasizes an idea, sentiment, or attitude
2 : the use of motions of the limbs or body as a means of expression
3 : something said or done by way of formality or courtesy, as a symbol or token, or for its effect on the attitudes of others

A Gesture is a trivially simple action. What I have been looking for is such a trivial action that consumes the least amount of personal energy, and yet creates the utmost possible Good for oneself and the world..

Examples of some powerful Gestures in history.

1. The legendary "thumbs down" that would indicate Caesar's sentence to immediate death for a gladiator. Another: the wave of a hand to authorize the beheading of an enemy of the state.
2. The push of the button that released the single bomb that killed half a million people in Hiroshima in 1945.
3. Today, an extraordinarily powerful, yet trivial, gesture would be a keystroke, or mouse click, on a computer to send an email to a list of potential customers. Spam is so prevalent because so many people have discovered the enormous power in being able to communicate with tens of millions of people, at virtually zero cost, instantaneously, and with the simple tap of a finger on the "Enter" key.

This gesture I have discovered is virtually self replicating, somewhat like a computer virus or worm that spreads from one machine to another, except in the case of the Gesture of Maximum Leverage, it spreads from person to person, affecting virtually everyone who comes in contact with it. There seems to be no defense against its great power.

It does not, however, need to involve another human being in order to produce beneficial effects in the person who initiates the Gesture. Many highly complex scientific studies have been done that demonstrate a wide range of positive effects with immediate and long term cumulative positive effects on the person who initiates the Gesture, even if only to themselves and witnessed by no other human being! Truly amazing. In fact, this Gesture starts within the initiator's body a chain reaction of chemicals, proteins, hormones, etc, which strengthen the immune system, create a sense of well being in oneself, and make oneself appear more intelligent, helpful, trustworthy and even more attractive. There have been catalogued a long list of beneficial results in the initiator of the Gesture.

Personal experience.

Allow me to share some of my personal experiences in observing the effects of this Gesture. I have one friend in particular who I have known for over 20 years, whose life has been immeasurably benefited by his repeated use of this Gesture. Unfortunately, it did not occur to me until recently that his Gesture and his success were intertwined.

Another good friend, although of modest means, and living a simple life, is continually radiant every time I see her and one gets the impression that no person on earth could be more happy. But in looking around at her circumstances, it is hard to imagine. The only thing I can deduce to explain this is her proactive use of the Gesture.

Given these definitions, and the stated results, can you guess what is this Gesture of Maximum Leverage? Can you imagine what would take the least amount of energy and immediately produce the greatest amount of Good, for yourself, and the world?

The answer is as plain as the smile on your face.

(c) Copyright 2003, all rights reserved.

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