To the class of 2013: Congratulations on your graduation!
As you embark on the world we all share, you will face countless choices.
You can be like everybody else and release your balloon on command.
You can choose to hang on to your balloon and quietly dispose of it properly.
You can choose to make a bit of a ruckus by choosing not to accept your balloon while trying to convince those near you to not accept theirs either.
You can choose to quietly spend an hour on the beach cleaning up used balloons.
You can choose to organize a group of your classmates to join you in cleaning up the beach.
In the weeks before graduation you could choose to create a social media campaign - enlisting your classmates, parents, teachers, and townspeople for support - to convince the school administration to eliminate the traditional balloon release.
Upon graduation, instead of finding a traditional job, you could choose to start your own nonprofit and name yourself executive director. If you live in the U.S. your goal could be to ban balloon releases in every state. You could get funding from surfing, boating, and fishing industry manufacturers as well as concerned citizens.
(If this interests you, I would gladly transfer the domain I just purchased - banballoons.org - to you at no cost, donate a small amount to get you going, and offer to sit on your advisory board.)
You have choices
Of course, this is not a post about balloons nor is it intended solely for 2013 graduates.
This is about the choices we all face every day. As you go through the world, think of those balloons. Don't automatically do what is expected. Consider the alternative choice. Choose to become a Linchpin.
Just because everyone is doing something, it isn't the best choice.