Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself – Leo Tolstoy
Change is a funny thing. We all want it for about a week, then it loses its shine and we’re back to being the same. Not that being the same is all bad–we seem to revel in it since that is “who we are”–but remember that for a fleeting minute we dreamed a bit higher and considered the option of being a bit more noble and a bit more… well… better, but, alas, it was just a quirky consideration best left for another day.
How is it that we believe the world would be better if “they” would get their act together, if “they” would act right, if “they” would do what “they” are supposed to do? Yes, the vague “they” are the problem to the world’s troubles. But consider for a minute, what if “they” are “we”–you and me?
Whoa! I know you are thinking that this is not a fair comparison, because most of us truly believe that we’re not like them. Everybody knows we are better, brighter and braver than the others, than them, than those who need to change.
Imagine just for a minute what it would be like to be “them.” An uncomfortable thought, since it is most likely not in our nature or our surroundings or even our friends.
I am not admonishing anyone; in fact, I am as guilty as the next person of putting people in a box and closing the lid because I am not like “them,” whoever “them” happens to be.
When I think about today’s quote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself,” I am reminded that, if I want to see change happen in my community, my network, or my business, maybe–just maybe–I need to make a few changes in my own life.
Three years ago, when I changed the direction of my weekly radio show from “Speak without Fear” (my heart’s desire to help people with the new rules and nuances of public speaking so they can be successful in their life) my listening audience asked me to change my show to something that they wanted. Mind you, not something I wanted, but what many of them said was a different voice, a hopeful message and occasionally a kick in the seat of the pants. I changed the show title and theme to “Encouragement for Your Life” and I’ve never regretted that decision.
Everyone says that change is good, until they have to do it. When I weighed the comments that were heavily tilted towards being encouraging on the show and offering ways to be successful in life and work and family (and not to be so bookish) that change was hard. Not because I didn’t know what to do, but because, when faced with the daunting task of being encouraging (even in a tough love way) once a week for many years, it was hard. I have said many times already that changing the show changed me. Instead of asking the world to change to what I thought it should be, the world forced me to step outside of my well-built box, open the lid and change.
How about you? I know that you’ve considered some big ideas for your life to make changes that you know will benefit you in the short and long run. So let me ask, what is holding you back? How many people will it take for you to finally listen to their words to take that first step into the unknown and begin the vision that others see for you and perhaps that you have for yourself?
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
If you were to look online with the theme of how to change your life for the better, you would not be surprised to see page after page with ideas and thoughts and books and articles on how other people tell you should do it. But setting aside the ideas of others, how about you think what it is that you want and how willing you are to work for it.
I am reminded of my New Year’s resolution for 2016: you can start the change in your life by the word(s) you choose to say about yourself. And I’ll add that, if you want to change the world, the best place to start is with yourself.
The way you do this is by choosing a word for each aspect of your life. That word will be the foundation of what you want to change in your life.
We all know that keeping resolutions is hard for people and most give up after Feb 1st. So let’s simplify the process to something we can remember and use and lean on in hard times, and I’ll remind you that making any change in your structured, well-ordered and set life is hard but worth it.
I love the quote from Margaret Atwood: “A word after a word after a word is power.” So consider what word comes to mind when someone says your name? Now consider what word you hope comes to people’s minds when someone says your name?
The great thing is that you have the power the change that word in peoples minds–really you do–so, just for today, think about what word you want associated with your name.
The word that I trust, hope and pray comes to mind when people think of me is the word encourager. I want to be known as someone who encourages others to live their best life ever. Just like you, I am known for a lot of other things –speaker, radio host, podcaster, author, coach, politician–and while those are who I am, in my everyday life I choose to promote the word that I want to be known for, encourager. (I often joke that it is my secret power).
Your turn. Choose a word(s) for yourself that will be the foundation for your desired change or recognition. Consider what words you want associated with your name or your company or your family. There is no hard and fast rule. It really is what you want to be known for–your reputation, your character or your personality.
Let me give you a few ideas on changing yourself that I have used in my own life. Many people want better health, and while that is a noble idea, it is hard to do, so don’t just say that you want to lose weight; instead, choose a word(s) you want to be known for. I can only assume that what you really want is to be stronger, svelte, powerful, have more energy, or simply look rock star amazing in your clothes. That takes away the negative idea of diet, exercise and doing without and places it on a higher plane of what you want for yourself, because you’re worth it.
I hear often that the idea of having or restoring a love life would be a wonderful thing. So don’t tell me you want to be married (or divorced). Give me a word that you want associated with your life when thinking about how others should treat you. You most likely want to be revered, valued and adored. Now don’t just say, loved. That is too general. Choose the word that gets to what you really want in your life. I’m guessing you want to be respected, listened to and cared for. To make the change, you must go deeper than the surface of empty words to a deeper level–to what you want in your life and heart and mind, because you’re worth it.
One that I hear about a lot is better employment or finding a better job as the goal. Everyone wants a better job, but that is general. Now think about what you really want in a job. Do you want responsibility, do you want to be challenged to the core, do you want someone to chart your advancement in order for you to be happy? Would a simple recognition for the work you do be enough? When you choose the words you want and associate them with your job, then put that front and center, you might be surprised how opportunity will find you–perhaps where you are or in the employment of another company. Interviewing skills are key, and adding to that is the understanding and verbalization of what you need and want to change so you can be challenged and then content in your place of employment. Why? Because you’re worth it.
The mind is very powerful, but it needs nourishment, and you have to provide the words to feed the mind. If you want to change anything including the world, your words matter. What you tell yourself your whole body hears, and that is why you need to change your conversation in your head to a more positive voice; when you change, you will notice that the world around you changes too.
We can spend hours talking about changing the world, but imagine what would happen if we spent that valuable time changing ourselves. I have no doubt we would be surprised at the outcome. The Rock Star Amazing Outcome!
Why? Because it is true that everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.