Before You Change the World, Start with Yourself
Some people try to change the world before even taking a look at themselves. They’re those “saviors” in shining armor, people who can only see the horizon, their dreams of grandiosity, but not their most immediate realities. They lack the everyday humility to notice their true shortcomings and thus miss the chance for authentic revolution.
Leo Tolstoy said, quite accurately, that most people ask for the world to change, but very few start by changing themselves. Big transformations come from simple changes in attitude, quiet advancements, observation, and action.
“Many small people, in small places, doing small things, can change the world.”
Ernest Hemingway once wrote about a subject that’s quite relevant today. He asked why some people, upon obtaining a position of authority, completely lose contact with reality, with their most intimate needs. When they get the opportunity to do truly good things for society, they mutate into specimens that prompt further studying.
Hemingway asked what type of “infectious agent” causes corruption once power is achieved, and that’s the question we’re asking now. Why do people who have the capacity to improve the world end up harming it?
Changing the world to fit one’s own needs
“I’ll change the world, sure, but so that it fits my size. I will make changes, of course, but only ones that fulfill my expectations and resonate with my selfishness.” Let’s begin by discussing the mentality of people who, when they reach the top, completely detach from real problems until they dissolve into oblivion and insignificance.
Greek mythology, always so wise, reflects on human character, its deadly sins, and its psychological rifts. The term hubris, or inflated ego, was used when heroes crossed ethical boundaries and committed crimes after achieving fame, renown, and wealth.
Hubris could be very dangerous, because when the hero dared to challenge the gods and show off their strength through acts of drunken violence, nastiness, and selfishness, Nemesis, the god of justice, would appear. When the powerful and corrupt hero was punished, everything returned to its subtle balance. However, things are quite different in real life, far from the realm of Olympus.
People who obtain power and want to change the world for their own benefit don’t always receive punishment. On the contrary, they usually end up gaining followers, people who take advantage of the opportunity and support the powerful leader so that they can benefit as well.
Therefore, instead of changing, the world remains stuck in this reality where even more shortages and needs develop and people lose hope due to the lack of justice.
To create a better world, start with yourself
In our society, we often witness contradictory behaviors. There are people who defend and extol the values of respect, equality, and solidarity, but who are also experts in humiliating the people close to them. There are also people who don’t have their priorities in order. They set their sights on professional projects and completely neglect their families.
Everybody sees and understands the world in their own way, of course, but those who distance themselves from what’s really important start to lose their way. People who are inconsistent in their words and actions create a discordant and incoherent reality. It’s important to be aware of these details to create a better world.
We invite you to reflect on the following strategies to build a more positive and hopeful world:
Keys to change the world
Nobody can create a better world if they’re not concerned with being a better person first. It’s necessary to cleanse the soul of ego (hubris), resentment, distrust, envy, and prejudice, which people aren’t always aware that they have. It’s an inner journey that unfortunately not everyone is prepared to take.
- Get to know yourself and tend to your inner garden. This is the first step on the ladder. In order to reap respect, you have to sow humility. In order to use empathy as a tool, you have to show yourself some affection.
- The second step is to be intuitive about the needs of your loved ones. It’s always nice to do good without expecting anything in return, but remember, if you offer nobility, you demand respect.
- To change the world, your sense of justice must be based on compassion. There’s no room for power games, sabotage, aggression, or discrimination.
- Do something good every day. Don’t neglect yourself, but make sure that every night when you go to bed, you can rest your head on the pillow of a good conscience. This will make both loved ones and strangers happy.
Collaborating with your community, taking care of the environment, and becoming part of an NGO are all ways to help the common good. However, we also can’t neglect future generations. Raise your kids well and instill values in them so that they become adults who are capable of changing the world.