In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “We’re told that ‘You can’t change the world.’, but the world is changing every day. The only question is…Who’s changing it? You or someone else?” (J. Michael Straczynski)
That quote almost immediately brought to mind the quote, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” That quote is often mistakenly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi; but, according to Quote Investigator, what Gandhi actually said was:
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. 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.”
Gandhi passed away in 1948, and Quote Investigator went on to report that the first sources of the abbreviated quote appeared many years later in 1974 within a self-help book chapter written by educator Arleen Lorrance. It was called the Love Project and stated:
“One way to start a preventative program is to be the change you want to see happen.”
Quote Investigator wne on to state that it took a couple of years more — until 1987 — when a Santa Fe, New Mexico Newspaper article about a self-help group organized by Mary Lou Cook was quoted as saying that the inspiration to form such a group came from a statement by Gandhi: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
The attribution of that quote to Gandhi has stuck ever since, even though he never said it in that way.
Even so, Gandhi’s thought that we control the change in the world by controlling our reactions to those change puts us back in control of the change that is going on in the world. Change happens every day all over the world and you see or experience only a tiny bit of it. The key to the impact that you will have on the changes that are occurring is your conscious effort to react to them. One can benignly accept the changes that are occurring or one can choose to do something about them – either in a positive and reinforcing way for changes that we agree with, or with a negative and resistive effort to fight against those changes with which we disagree.
So, how you “be the change that you want to see in the world” is that you react to those changes by making changes of your own to your own life. You become an activist, rather than standing passively by and watching the changes occur. Maybe you take up a sign and join a march for or against something. Maybe you volunteer to work for the election of someone. Maybe you donate to a cause to join a fund-raising effort for that cause. The point is that you react to those changes and by reacting you cause change in yourself and in the world.
So, it turns out that you are the change that you were hoping to see in the world. Start with you. Change your attitude to the things happening in the world around you and you will see the world differently because you changed. Additionally, the world will see you differently.
Change you and change the world.