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Be the change
Be the change is a statement or motto used by many people who view themselves as activists or change agents. The statement is a shortened version of a quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Being a force of change requires many approaches, some novel and some as old as time. Whatever approach you choose to take, the main idea is to demonstrate the change you want through your own words, actions and deeds. Through modelling desired behaviour changes, a different attitude and highlighting the things that matter the most, an activist or change agent seeks to show how making change is both possible and practical. It is also an excellent way to demonstrate to other people that the change is beneficial rather than detrimental to a person's life.
Part of "being the change" involves a realisation that if you don't do something about whatever it is that concerns you, then who will? It's an acceptance that the changes an individual makes can have a wider ripple effect as others are inspired by what you are doing and imitate it or evolve it in helpful ways. Eventually, such persistence can turn into a movement if the cause gathers momentum and appeals widely enough.
Ways to Stay Inspired in Being the Change
As part of being the change, these things are worth considering:
- See the positives and the potentials. There is plenty in the world to moan about. But there is also plenty of good and lots of possibilities provided you choose to seek those out.
- Help others to see the good, the possible and the reality of your vision for change. Show them existing examples, past experiences and future projections of realistic possibilities given existing resources and energies.
- Encourage others to join with you. Remember the saying of Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
- Work in small and incremental ways. Large leaps are not necessary and indeed can produce too high an expectation too soon. Smaller, gradual change can be more easily digested by many people and form into new habits, new ways of thinking and new approaches without too many burdens being placed on people to make the changes. However, don't stop thinking about the bigger picture, holding it forth as the purpose to work towards.
- Be prepared to make changes to your ways of achieving the desired change without losing sight of the end goal or hope. Flexibility is a key to being able to inspire others to change, as is a willingness to learn from the people around you and their experiences of making changes.
- Show as much or more as you tell. Getting deeply involved and being willing to do your bit to enable the change makes a big difference to those watching your actions.
- Tell stories about what you're seeking to do. Stories make your activities more alive and relevant to people and help them to put themselves into the story too.
- Be careful about saying that you have the only vision for a "better world". There are many ways to make important improvements in the world and diversity of change approaches can be important for bringing on board all persons who matter. Also, take care when using the term a "better world"––better for whom and in what way? Don't assume that your vision is ideal or the sole answer; always be prepared to take on board constructive criticism and diverse viewpoints that may take different approaches but still get to the beneficial change in the end.
- Build on the efforts of other people, both living and those long gone. There is already a wealth of good ideas out there awaiting reuse, building upon and improving, and many of these efforts can inspire you in ways you may never have thought of.
- Realise that some people will find it easy to scoff and dismiss individual attempts to make changes as a waste of time. It may sometimes seem like a large and thankless task to keep going with your dream of being the change but it helps to remember that individuals do make a difference. As Jane Goodall stated once: You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
- Sometimes it is yourself that needs to change before you can be an effective change agent. Set aside regular time to reflect on your life and the direction you are taking. Take good care of yourself too; a person in good health and who practices good self-care is a good role model for others and maintains the energy and strength of mind needed to effect changes in the face of critics, negativity and barriers.
- Help people focus on what they stand to gain rather than on what they are giving up.
Inspirational Quote Bar
Refill your weary yet energetic soul at the bar of hope, where inspiration is on tap. Leave your favorite inspirational change quotes here:
- You must be the change you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi
- Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
- You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.– Jane Goodall
- The time for action is now. It is never too late to do something. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry