Above is my favorite quote. It is a guiding principle that I use when I am sharing in the field of self-improvement. When I first set out on this journey, I had little to no idea what I was doing. After over 2 decades of learning and sharing I realized this quote is still one of the most powerful. At seminars I hold, book signings, or even just in personal interaction, people often inquire as to what they can do to change the world. They come with many different motives. Some people have a great deal of hope and ambition. Others, come from a place of frustration. They see the division and hate on television and in the media and really want to do something to make a difference.
My advice to all of these people is the same – focus on changing your corner of the world. This can confuse some and further frustrate many. After all, they want to make a BIG change. I understand that thinking. Daily, I write these blogs and books to help facilitate change throughout the world. The best way to do this is to focus on what we really can change. Like the quote above, be the change you are wanting to see. You wish for a world filled with more love and less hate? Then be a more loving individual. You would be surprised at the effect that can have on others and how quickly it spreads. You wish more people would volunteer to help worthwhile causes? dedicate some of your spare time to doing the same. This may seem like you are making an insignificant difference, but stop and consider this bit of thinking. What if everyone in your city did the same thing? Focused only on doing what they can in their own lives. I live in a town of roughly 60,000 people. Imagine that many people working toward a positive change? Even half of those people, just trying to bring joy and love to those in their circle.
Proof that you attract the people you need in your life, I would like to share an adventure that happened to Margie and I just the other day. We decided to go out for lunch at a local spot we both enjoy. We asked to be seated in a section that had a fun server. We were greeted by Heather, a very pleasant young lady that confessed to being a bit new. As she took our order the conversation turned to the weather outside. It was a particularly cool July afternoon. Weather a lot of folks would enjoy being out in. There was Mention of the vast number of positions and places that were hiring and how we wished there could be a way to connect them to all of the people standing on the corners with signs looking for work. After a contemplative pause, Heather said, “I would stand on a corner with a sign.” Margie and I looked at her with curiosity. She continued, “Yes, I would have a sign asking for change, but not monetary change, social change!” It was then that I knew the three of us would become good friends.
Heather brought up a very good point. Encouraging others for change of a social nature is another great way to improve our corner of the world. I am speaking of asking for change in an encouraging thoughtful manner. Asking your friends to help you with a cause your are volunteering for. Inviting everyone to send a thank you card to one of their friends. Asking strangers to share a smile with someone they don’t know. The best way to encourage this change and make it most likely others will join you? That is to be the change you wish to see in the world!
I know it can be tempting to look for the biggest way in which you can make a change. Just remember often the most powerful way to make a change is to change your own corner of the world. That could include holding a sign asking for positive social change, volunteering for a worthwhile cause, or just sharing a smile with a stranger. Margie and I are thankful to Heather for the great reminder of this important point. We look forward to many good conversations with her in the future!