As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.
This is one of my favorite quotes. The world is full of people trying to change it, but severely lacks people trying to change themselves. I claim at least as much responsibility as the next person for this trend and can understand why it is; it is much easier to go with the flow. Further, it is a lot easier to tell other people what to do than to do it yourself. The problem I see with this is that it has lead to a world where everyone wants to tell everyone else what the problems with the world are, but only want to personally change to fix them as much as is convenient, the rest apparently being the responsibility of the ‘masses’ changing first. Unless one person can change themselves though, the masses will surely never change. Again, it is hard — very hard — to change oneself, especially to a position of relative disadvantage by some standards while other reap the benefits of not changing, but I believe it is the single most effective and fulfilling way to promote change in the world. Like a wave, your personal change will influence those around you, sending ripples out into the world that can have enormous effects.
Here is a short story about some personal changes I have made. I hope you can find some inspiration to make your own changes, for whatever causes you are passionate about. I am gravely concerned about energy sustainability issues. I worry that, it addition to laying waste to our environment, we are also setting ourselves up for economic disaster as the fuel tanks for our economic growth run dry. I, in so many ways, want to scream out to the world of the changes that must be made to help shield us and and our children from these catastrophes. However, I found it difficult to make even the simple changes I want the rest of the world to make. Simple solutions like buying local and organic food and biking instead of driving when possible were frustrating to me when I knew others either were saving money or finding much greater convenience in travel. I had to push myself to take these step, literally reminding myself that if I cannot do these things, I can never expect others to. Eventually, these and other steps towards sustainable living became easier though, even rewarding. Suddenly, a few extra dollars spent on local produce was a small price to pay for the sense of personal accomplishment and growth. The steps were small, yes, but they felt right and I learned not to think of my changes relative to others but to the greater good of all. I, regardless of what others choose to do, am able to do my part for the cause I believe in. Whether I ever make a wave or not, I am not sure, but with friends and family at least noticing and picking up a few small sustainable habits, I feel there are already at least some ripples going out around me.
So please, be the change you want to see in the world. I hope I can be part of your waves of change to make the world a better place.
Love and be loved!