When you watch the news on TV, or read the newspaper, you could be forgiven for thinking the world has gone mad, and that you are powerless to do anything that will change it.
Perhaps you can’t change the world all by yourself, but you can visualise how you’d like it to be. By focusing on making a difference in your own life, you can indirectly have a positive effect on the rest of the world.
Mother Theresa said: “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
Campaigns which are ‘anti-’ a problem simply focus energy on the problem, rather than looking for a solution. The solution is to change ourselves, rather than trying to change everyone else.
If each of us, as individuals, could say “I’m living according to my values”, there would be less anxiety, depression, anger and violence in the world.
You may think that everyone’s values are different. However, there are core values which we all share. A friend who works with ‘difficult’ teenagers said the thing that surprised her most was that, beneath the veneer of the angry adolescent, their values were similar to hers – they basically wanted security, approval, to be loved and happy.
It’s interesting how we think others want different things from ourselves. When asked what motivates their staff and themselves, managers usually compile a different list for both, believing their staff to be motivated mostly by money rather than recognition and appreciation.
I was amazed, recently, to hear the manager of one of my local Adult Education centres describe the courses they run as “learning for the sake of learning”, as opposed to “vocational”. I took issue and told him that I believe the courses inspire people to change their lives, whether it’s going into business as a writer or potter, or travelling the world to practise a new language skill.
One of my goals is to inspire people to change their lives by helping them to feel good about themselves. If you’re feeling good, you’re more creative, more productive and more likely to treat those around you with respect and compassion.
It’s easy to underestimate the impact that a little bit of encouragement can have on other people. A positive word, a kind gesture can make all the difference to how someone feels about themselves. It can change the world, one person at a time.
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