If you want to change the world, you have to begin with changing yourself.
It is that simple, and of course at the same time that complicated.
Change is challenging. I don’t want to call it hard, because really it’s not that hard to make change. But change IS challenging.
Why? Because change is frequently a journey into the unknown. We take steps into unexplored territory, to places we have never been, maybe even never really dreamed about. Change is different. Change is exciting and terrifying and a huge ball of crazy emotions.
To change the world, we have to begin much, much smaller. We have to begin with ourselves. Our own visions, desires, intentions and actions are where all change stems from. If we do not change from within, we would be hard pressed to even recognize change from without.
Yes, sometimes there is a big, huge idea or thing that leads to change from the outside. When you are hit by a car or receive the job of your dreams or meet your soul mate, those are gargantuan changes that are effected from outside of yourself. The world at large is changed from without from time to time as well, though frequently this is rather violent, involving revolution or a devastating natural disaster or what-have-you.
The simplest and most profound way to change the world is by changing yourself.
The biggest mistake most people make, and I certainly make it, is that we consider change. We envision change. We have these fantastic ideas about how we will change ourselves, do the things we need to do, and improve our lives. Plans, concepts, methods are considered, and change feels like it is on the horizon and we’re ready for it.
What’s missing? Action. Specifically, inspired action. Intentional action. I can plan, plot, devise and consider all the ideas for change I want…but unless I take some sort of action, all I have is a notion of change, but no real change.
For a lot of people, the process feels like action. I came up with this awesome idea to change my life, I am really psyched about it, I got it all planned out…and now I am exhausted. Planning is action, right? Except it’s not. Planning is not doing.
This is why instead of making New Years Resolutions, I began to take New Years Actions. I can resolve to do a thing all I want, but the actual doing is a whole other matter.
So I want to change the world, but I know that first and foremost I need to change myself. I can plot and plan until the cows come home, but without taking any action nothing will change.
Things change whether we act or not. This is true, however, do you have any real control over those changes? Were those changes of your making, or were they spawned from someone or something else? If I say I am planning to change my job, and then do nothing, but get laid off from my current job along the way, certainly I’ve experienced change. But I didn’t choose it.
Pathwalking is about choice. This is MY life, and I alone get to live it. I want to change this thing or that thing. To change, there has to be intentional action.
What’s the difference between intentional action and regular action? Simple – intentional action is purposeful, decisive. It means something to you, it carries weight and feeling. Regular action just kind of happens, and we are all guilty of taking “action” to look busy or just to feel as if we are doing SOMETHING. That is usually going to get us nowhere, at least not where we are aiming to go.
Once you determine what changes you want to make, and take intentional actions to effect those changes, you are doing the thing that will get you where you want to go. In this way, you change the world.
There are any number of powers-that-be, authority figures, so-called leaders and the like who want us all disempowered. They want to control us, they want us to be good little sheep and play by their rules, live as they see fit. Some are dynamic and charismatic, some are narcissistic and fear-mongering. They throw around phrases and ideas like “change the world”, but really what they are after is their own narrow vision. Real change is individual. Because the world as we each perceive it is so vastly different.
How I see this world is not how you see it. Sure, there are points we agree upon, I don’t doubt, but none-the-less our world views are dissimilar. Because of environment, upbringing, ethnicity, gender and other self-identifiers our views of the world at large differ far more than we realize. This is not a world of either/or, good/bad, black/white, male/female and such…it is a wider, more colorful, more diverse world in an even larger, more colorful and more diverse galaxy in an infinitely gargantuan universe.
The limits we create are our own. When we recognize this, the changes we can make are infinite. And when we change ourselves, we truly do change the world, because each and every one of us lives in a different, but shared world. Change ourselves for the better, change the world for the better.
Make the plan, but take the intentional action. If you want to change the world, you have to begin with changing yourself.
What do you want to change about the world? What do you want to change about yourself?
GOAL LOG – Week 34:
Diet: Overall, still decent. I continue to mostly avoid sugar.
Exercise: Fencing happened twice week, and I got to the gym once. Still a work in progress.
Writing: I didn’t think I did it, but I managed to get in 3 days of writing last week.
Meditation: Three days last week, at least 6 minutes each of those days.
Gratitude: I wrote five things I was grateful for every day last week.
This is the two-hundred forty-fourth entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life. I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.
Thank you for joining me. Feel free to re-blog and share.
The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.
If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.