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Choose Significance With Small Acts

By Joey Havens

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I’m out for an early Sunday morning jog on the Ole Miss campus after enjoying another victory by our Ole Miss Rebel football team. It’s been a fun season so far.

This is one of my traditions — an early morning run on game day and the morning after. I love seeing the Grove being set up with all of the colorful tents, the hustle and bustle of the largest tailgate in the country in an incredible setting that is simply hard to explain. For college football fans, it’s a common bucket list visit.

The day after the game, I am always amazed at how quickly the university team removes all of the garbage cans and hotty toddy potties and the grounds are so clean compared to just hours ago when literally thousands were enjoying a tailgate under these trees. Kudos for an incredible job.

My jog starts at the top of a hill just off campus on Old Taylor Road. It’s exactly one mile from our condo to the football stadium. I have a four-mile track that I usually run and a three-mile track when I want to scale back a little. On the way down the hill this morning, I notice lots of garbage:
McDonald’s paper bag, two beer cans, popsicle wrapper, plastic wrap, plastic cup with lipstick on the edge. It’s not very appealing but I simply jog past it. Thank goodness, the campus grounds look great.

Completing my four-mile track brings me back to this hill for the home stretch. Too many times I have jogged or walked this last half mile and walked right past the trash. For me (and maybe for many Americans) we have forgotten our love of country and community, the sheer blessing of being part of a country where we have so many freedoms and can pursue our dreams.

How can I do more to demonstrate I care? This was really on my mind and heart today as I knew I could help us be better. I grabbed the McDonald’s paper sack and every piece of trash I saw on the way up the hill, I stuffed it in. At the top, I had a bag full of trash and looking behind me, a sidewalk and street that looked a lot better. It was so easy for me to demonstrate my pride in our community, our university and our country.

I think there are lots of little things, that maybe we once did, that we are too busy to do today yet these small things can have a big impact. I committed to myself, when I make this fun jog, I will carry a trash bag and pick up the trash on the final uphill stretch. What other opportunities have we been jogging by? It’s probably like I found myself, easy to do but so easy not to do.

I know I simply ignored this opportunity to help us be better too many times. Let’s look for a small thing to do today and #beEvenBetter.

Coming in 2023, my new book Leading with Significance breaks through the limiting barriers of common culture theory and demonstrates, with great transparency, the real human emotions that elevate a culture to one that is genuine, enduring and magnetic. Sign up today for updates at