I’ve spent much of the last week interviewing people who want to make positive changes in the world. Their ideas are wide and varied and I was blown away by that. You see, I, like many others (I suspect), have their own ideas about what “changing the world” means and we can’t imagine all of the ways that others are thinking of. Here’s what I believe… we all have an idea, or many ideas, of how the world could be better. Some of us act on those ideas (thank you!), and some of us don’t. We don’t for many reasons, here are a few:
- We are overwhelmed by the perceived magnitude of making a difference
- We don’t think we have what it takes to change the world (or even our corner of it)
- We don’t think that our ideas matter, or that they are big enough to have an impact
- We think our ideas are stupid
- We simply don’t know where to start
- We feel powerless
This is by no means a complete list, it just contains some of what I heard this week. So, what’s next…?
Everything starts small, with that proverbial “single step”. For example, The Red Cross exists because one man, Henry Dunant, wanted political leaders to take more action to protect war victims after he helped wounded soldiers following a battle in 1859. One man’s idea….
If you have an idea, no matter how small, do something with it…
- Be brave & share it with friends
- Start a Facebook group & invite people in
- Find other socially-minded people or organizations and learn from them
- If you are already in an organization that’s making a difference, and you have ideas on how it could be better, or reach more people or _____, speak up!
- If you don’t think you have what it takes, connect with someone who can shine a light on your strengths (a coach, a mentor, etc.)
Here’s a quote I just heard (thanks Gerard)…”If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a bedroom with a mosquito!” Think about that for a minute…
CHANGE THE CONVERSATION…
Too often, we only share our ideas with those who we believe have the same opinions or ideals as us. Take a leap and branch out! People will surprise you if you let them!
We are all one. One universe, one people. If we can stop viewing our world in terms of “other”, and start really loving all of humanity, we will change the conversation. I watched Trevor Noah talking about the recent police involved shootings of two men. He made a point that really struck home with me, he talked about the perception here in America that if you take a stand for something that you're automatically against something else. For example, if you are pro Black Lives Matter, you are anti-police, and if you're pro police, you are anti-black. The truth of it is you can, and should, be both!
The video is here if you want to hear it in his words, and hear what else he had to say (and I recommend you do!).
This struck me to my core because, up to now, I wouldn’t “share” or “like” a pro police post on Facebook for this very reason. I did not want it to be perceived that I was anti-black…for the record I am pro humanity, all people, all creeds (and those with no creed), all shades, all genders, all abilities, all ages. People may make assumptions about me based on what I share, or don’t share, what I say or don’t say. I can’t control those assumptions. I can only choose to be authentic, and vulnerable, and strong. So from now on, if something pulls at my heartstrings, or moves me to speak or act, or makes me laugh, I’ll respond in my own, authentic way.
So tell me, in the comments below, how will you change the conversation? Please, no matter how big or small your idea, what positive change do you want to see? Notice I said positive…this is no place for negativity and hate…if that’s what you feel, think about what could shift your thinking. If you have a distrust or dislike for a certain segment of our human race, what would change that? If you knew more about them so they seem less foreign to you, could that change your view? Can you reach out to that community to try to understand them more? I believe fear and hate are the result of lack of understanding.
THERE IS POWER IN EXAMPLE
Often the best way to change our world is to change ourselves. A few weeks ago, I wrote about a Kindness Revolution I started after the Orlando massacre. Since I started this revolution, I am a changed person. I think differently, I drive differently (I no longer get angry in traffic, or at other drivers), I am a different person.
Being kind doesn’t always come naturally, especially in the face of more tragedies, more murders. Sometimes we have to be Consciously Kind. I was having a conversation with someone after I wrote that article, about how difficult it can be to be kind after a hateful thing has happened and I’ll never forget what she said, “I will love the world deliberately for a while until I can love spontaneously again.” Thank you Lynette for these amazing words, words we can all live by. It’s not always easy to be kind, or loving, or charitable, when faced with anger, hate, ignorance, and fear….to do it in spite of the anger and fear is my challenge to all of us.
Call yourself to action! What can YOU do, in your own circle, to make a positive difference? Here’s one tip I will share…focus your thoughts or actions in a positive, not negative way. What I mean by that is, if you want less of something, focus on what the opposite of that is (e.g. instead of less gun-violence, focus on more peace, instead of less hunger, focus on more people getting nourished, you get the idea?). If you can focus your energies on creating MORE of something good instead of LESS of something bad, your results will amaze you, and perhaps the rest of the world!
When is the best time to start…right now! Together, we really can change the world…are you in?
Take care of one-another,
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