World changing is a fairly common goal among human beings, and I personally think being thought of as a world changer would be pretty cool. When people ask me what I like to do with my time, talent and energy, I could cleverly work being a change agent for the world into the conversation by saying, “I write books, watch some TV, play guitar, change the world, enjoy good meals, and drink a little wine from time to time.” Yes, I think being a world-changer has a good ring to it. It is a nice conversation starter.
As cool as it might be, world changing sounds like a pretty big task. However, I do have one idea that I think makes world changing simpler: Change yourself – and your world – before you even think about trying to change the rest of the world. The primary benefit of starting with your world and yourself is that you can actually change these things. It is difficult enough at times to change things you can control, so why not stick with these things and quit trying to change things you cannot control?
Can you change someone else? Changing is a very personal choice. No one else can make the decision to change for you, and you cannot make the decision to change for others. In the end, every individual on the face of the planet must decide what he or she is going to do about a suggested (or ordered) change. If you study history you know that a lot of people have been ordered to change by some fairly impressive and influential people … like kings and queens. And quite a few have weighed the consequences of not changing (like beheading) with the pain of changing. Many changed. But others decided to accept pain, grief and even death rather than change. Patrick Henry is most famous for illustrating this concept in a speech to the Virginia Provincial Convention in 1775: “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Lucky for Patrick, it turned out to be liberty.
Can you help someone else change? Perhaps, but probably not in the way you might think; not by focusing on them, but merely by living the changes you choose. That old saw, “Actions speak louder than words,” is a very accurate theory. You influence others most by your actions, the choices you make and the changes you accept in your life. Therein lies the secret to world changing. If the change you desire is worthwhile, perhaps others will see the positive effects of the change in your life and want to join the club.
How do you eat an elephant? You take one bite at a time. How do you change the world? You deal with one person at a time. And that person is you. Be the change you want to see in the world and watch it spread among the other people in your circle of influence.
Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.