Be the Change You Want in the World
Years ago I heard a great quote about creating positive change in the world by Mahatma Gandhi:
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
I've shorten this as a personal mantra to 'be the change you want in the World' and for me this is a daily activity. It's about being kind to people, smiling at others (even across cars waiting at the traffic lights), being environmentally responsible, being ethical in business, looking after animals (like getting your pets from animal welfare shelters) and being conscious of the impact of how life is lived on others.
I'm not perfect so I easily make plenty of mistakes in life but I find the saying a good moral compass for my life. It is something that is easy for me to set the course of my days by and reflect on my actions.
I've come to realise that to be the change I want to see in the world I need to figure out what I want value to see more of in this life. So I got to thinking.
* I get bored by selfish people and find generous people inspiring. So being generous in spirit and action is something I need to do.
* Rude and nasty people are failing in life from my point of view whereas considerate, polite and kind people are harvesting the best things in life as they are giving so easily.
* A consistently lazy nature just stuns me, how is anything created, achieved, found, developed, enjoyed by always being lazy? Yet, having the occasional lazy day is good for the spirit because rest is vital but constant laziness is boring, is wasting precious life. Being part of making something enriching is interesting and inspiring for me.
* Violence and anger are destructive and harmful. Learning how to manage personal anger can help you keep away from violence - either creating it or receiving it. To me acts of violence belittle a person (and a community and country). I can understand how it can happen but it takes a stronger person to keep peace than to start violence.
* Being part of a peace rally is so much more constructive than an anti-war march - I'm pro-peace, not anti-war. It's the positive and negative argument.
There have certainly been times when I've limited myself with bad behaviour like being rude to others, having too many lazy days in my summer holidays (and not getting out there enough), been angry to others when they haven't deserved it but I've come to a point now where I want that sort of behaviour to be rare rather than common.
Now I want my most common behaviour to reflect the changes I want to see in the world. It's been more about being aware of my behaviour and making choices about it than being goody-to-shoes and Little Miss Perfect. I do stuff up, particularly when I'm tired, but now I say sorry and forgive myself for my humanness more often.
So what Change do your want to see in the world?
Some Quick Wins for Positive Change
Try writing out some ideas for what makes for a better world from your point of view.
Tell others what you like about them that is being positive for the world.
Write to influential people like politicians, journalists and editors, powerful corporate citizens etc to say well done on something, share an idea for positive change - just make your voice heard. Writing a positive letter can be much more liberating for the writer and reader than a critical letter.
Think about the messages you might be giving the children in your life - are they constructive or mixed? Harmful or inconsistent? Write down what sort of life messages and lessons you want to be sharing with children. Do you always hear yourself say "No"? Is the "no" sometimes more of a reaction than a considered response? Try using "maybe" instead of the instant "no" so you give yourself time to think through the answer, it may still be "no" but at least there's been a chance for thought behind it.