Mohandas Gandhi once said something very interesting: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I think about this statement from time to time, and it resonates very strongly within me–mostly because I don’t follow the advice nearly as much as I wish I could. Sometimes I see things that I would love to have changed, but I certainly don’t live out the example of that change. In some things I’m pretty good at it, but by the time I die I hope to be better in many more areas.
For example, do you wish that more people were honest and straightforward in all that they do? Then it’s up to you to be honest and straightforward in all of your dealings with others.
Do I want to see more friendliness in the world? Then it’s up to me to be more friendly.
Do we want to experience more compassion and kindness and loving in the world? Then guess what? We need to live more compassionate and kind and loving lives.
Do you wish that people you worked with worked harder or better or were more focused on their tasks? Then it’s up to you to provide the model for them–the change isn’t going to happen without someone to model it.
It’s important to keep in mind that not everything that we model will be followed by others. If we think it will be, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. But if we truly want a change to come about, we have to be that change, or there’s no real use in hoping for it to come about. If we don’t live it ourselves, we’re simply depending on others to do something without any sort of motivation or encouragement, and that happens rarely.
Be the change. Be who you are, and be true to yourself. These are approaches to life that can give us great rewards if we stay true to them, and if we allow ourselves to live them.