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When you perform a positive action, it makes it easier to perform similar positive actions in the future. Excellence becomes routine. It would be out of character--and difficult--to go against the new positive routine once established. That's the personal virtuous cycle.
However, we don't live in a vacuum. We live among many other people, who see us daily. They see how we look, speak and act. By creating a personal virtuous cycle, we have the opportunity to inspire others to pursue their gifts and create their own virtuous cycle. Keep this up for many years and we hit a critical mass of group impact.
I believe we underestimate the influence our actions have on those around us. Just becoming aware of these cycles makes them easier to capitalize on. And if the impact we want to have in our communities isn't as much of a reach as we thought -- wouldn't that be something worth pursuing?