25 Ways To Be The Change You Want To See
How to be a positive force in a negative world
Did Gandhi really say “be the change”?
I have a tendency to fall in love with great quotes, as they help convey complex messages in easy sound bites. Only problem with that: most great people do not say things in easy sound bites. For example, Gandhi was not a very quotable guy. As far as we know, he never said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Instead, this is the closest quote to the Gandhi sound bite: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” Beautiful, but too long to fit on a bumper-sticker on my Prius. So most of us have only ever heard the made-up sound bite.
Gandhi’s son Arun says that his father Mahatma did say, “No, the world will not change if we don’t change”, when he was speaking after prayer service because people kept saying to him that the world has to change for us to change. That sounds much closer to the sound bite phrase we have today, and it does emphasize that we must change ourselves for the world to change. Yet even Arun Gandhi’s interpretation of what his father said has clearly been modified over the years.
The truth is the truth – we must be the change
While I didn’t start out thinking that I was going to write something to burst the Gandhi sound bite bubble – and it certainly burst mine – the truth is the truth. There is no Santa Claus (I’m not sure if I ever told my four kids that there was). A college degree does not equal a job (that’s a recent, very difficult truth for one of my children). People are not inherently unselfish and kind – that’s why governments exist.
The fact remains that Gandhi was indeed the change he wanted to see in the world. And it’s very clear that he wanted people to change themselves instead of waiting for the world to change. Some people focus on Karma – what goes around comes around. If you do good deeds, then you bring good into your life. Well, even that seems self-serving. I prefer to think of “be the change” as the Golden Rule: treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. I learned that in Kindergarten, and it’s still the best way to live your life.
So, in the spirit that I set off with when I started writing this post, here is a list of ways you can be the change you want to see in the world.
25 Things you can do to be the change you want to see in the world:
- Be humble
- Be courteous
- Just say “Thank You” when being given a compliment
- Be kind to those you know and those you don’t
- Smile when you feel like scowling
- Think before you speak
- Listen before you talk
- Take other people’s ideas into consideration
- Do the right thing, even if it is the harder thing to do
- Do not speak negatively of others – keep it to yourself
- Embrace the unexpected
- Be calm
- Do something nice for someone else when you can
- Embrace patience during a difficult moment
- Never give up on yourself
- Tell your friends and family you love them
- Pick up trash in your neighborhood, a local park or your work place
- Encourage someone who is struggling by showing them you see their effort even if the results aren’t there yet
- Make two lunches and give one away
- Give a genuine compliment
- Surprise someone
- Invite the person behind you in line with fewer items to go ahead of you at the grocery store
- Let other cars merge easily, make way and lessen road rage
- Practice self kindness, refrain from negative self-talk
Twenty-five changes is a good start. I look forward to hearing from you about more ways to be the change we want to see in the world.
Take a look at yourself, then make a change.
- Every day, in every way.
- Lowered stress
- Increased happiness
- A better world
- Kinder children and adults
Clicking the button below will take you to a page where you can add a reminder to your calendar for Be The Change. You must have a Simple Daily Change account to set up calendar reminders.