Elisabeth Olyvia Norton
2 min readJun 7, 2016


20 Minutes of Action: Help or Harm?

Everywhere this morning there are scathing replies to the “20 minutes of action”, as there should be. Rape is vile, regardless of the circumstances under which it happens. Period.

But what about the 20 minutes? Any 20 minutes any of us have could be the defining minutes of our lifetime. We are continually faced with choices in our own lives, perhaps not as dramatic or life changing, but still important to us and those we impact.

But before those 20 minutes begin, there is a defining choice, perhaps imperceptible and unnoticed, but the choice is there: am I willing to help or am I willing to harm?

The student in question made his choice, he could have spent that 20 minutes helping the unconscious woman, calling 911, finding her friends, or guarding her. He didn’t. The cyclists made their choice, they intervened instead of riding on. Everyone involved made choices: the woman, the father, the judge, the friends and family.

Those of us speaking out, by adding our voice to the conversation, are making a choice: is your voice helping or harming?

Instead of only passing judgement on those directly involved, this is an excellent opportunity to look at what YOUR choice is at any given moment. What do you do with your 20 minutes, with any 20 minutes you have, to harness helping or harming.

Are you committed to helping others or are you committed to getting yours regardless of the harm it may cause someone else?

We have 72 opportunities every day to create defining moments followed by 20 minutes of action. Do you help that others or do you go on by? Do you reach out with kindness and compassion or do you take advantage to feel superior? Are you helpful or are you harmful?

What are you choosing to do in your 20 minutes of action?



Elisabeth Olyvia Norton

Positive Psychology Coach, Writer, Educator. Optimist, edge pusher, & smarty pants. Momma to bevy of 4 leggers, artist & proud science geek. areallybiglfe.com