Since starting this blog a few years ago I’ve written often about change. Mostly personal change. Changes in thoughts, actions, job, home, etc. By continually evaluating my moments, my life, and finding lessons to learn and facilitate growth, I wonder whether or not I’m changing the world by changing myself. It doesn’t need to mean changing the entire planet, facilitating world peace, finding a cure for cancer, or ending starvation – although any of these would be fantastic. No, I’m talking about making a change day by day in the world, one person, one moment at a time.
Every day the world around us is changing, but what drives this change? What contribution do I make to this change in the world? Now, I’m cognizant of the fact I’m not the president of a country and making decisions with global impact. I’m not a military general holding the fate of many in my hands. I’m not a community leader with the ability to stir up entire communities with rhetoric. So what am I then?
What I do know is this, I am a member of the human race. I am a person living in this world. It doesn’t matter if I am perceived to be significant or insignificant. What matters to me is what impact am I making in my sphere of influence? I hear many people talk about the change they want to see in the world but I wonder how they think it’s going to come about. How do we decide what change it is we want to see in the world and, more importantly, how are we going to facilitate that change?
I know that I would like to see, and experience, more peace and harmony in the world. I’m of the opinion that if people were just a bit kinder, a bit friendlier and more tolerant of each other, then the world will be a better place. But take a close look at my previous sentence… all I’ve done is state an opinion. Having an opinion about something doesn’t make the change come about. When I look around myself I see many unhappy people, such hatred, intolerance, etc. And I hold opinions about how to change this – oh, people should do this, or people should do that. Hey, I am a “people”, so what am I doing?
A while back I came across a quote by renowned author, Paulo Coelho. He stated, quite simply: “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
Think about it. It is easy for each of us to hold opinions about what change we’d like to see in the world. But what matters is how we transform our opinions into examples. If I’m of the opinion that people should be a bit kinder, a bit friendlier and more tolerant, then let that start with me. Let me smile at others more often. Let me be more grateful and thankful to those around me. Let me be more tolerant and understanding of those who are different to me. If I bridge the gap between having an opinion and living my life as an example of my opinion, then maybe, just maybe, I will change the world.
Yours in lifelong learning.