‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’ – Ghandi
Incorporating that single line in my life for the last few weeks has literally turned it around.
I hated seeing unhealthy people who never exercised. I hated negative people who were blind to the goodness of anything. I hated when my friends would blame externalities for their shortcomings. I wanted them to change. I’d tell them to change.
We’ve always heard it: treat others the way you wish to be treated. Yeah it makes sense ie, you receive respect after giving it to somebody, BUT there is a big difference between ‘treat’ and ‘be’.
The next bit we’ll delve deeper into this idea so bear with me…
Stephen Covey in his awesome book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People points out the difference between what is called the personality ethic and the character ethic. In a fast paced world, people are always looking for quick fixes, that little secret that will allow them to jump the hurdles and achieve that goal. They do exist, but they are temporary. Treating others the way you wish to be treated is im afraid a quick fix which goes under the personality ethic category. Think about it, when you talk to someone you might dislike, you try to use good mannners, exhibiting a friendly vibe, though inside, you may feel aggravated. The character ethic however, is based on internal values and principles which automatically produces an amazing personality. Using the character ethic allows you to be a better person instead of appearing to be a better person.
Back to that first line. Being the change you wish to see. What are some characteristics you’d like to see in the people around you? Patience? Compassion? Honesty? Respect? Well my friends, in order to bring this want into reality, the trick is to incorporate those characteristics into yourself. Forget focusing on others and direct your complete focus unto yourself. Be the change. Influence that part of your life in which you have direct control: yourself. And you will notice that people around you will start to notice, become inspired, motivated and hopefully begin to change their lives in at least the smallest of ways.
The Prophet (S) focused primarily on inward victory during the early stages of Islam. On conquering the self before achieving any great outward victories. It is through this individual success that our surroundings also become positively affected. A volcanic eruption begins initially from within the mountain, invisible to man. As the eruption takes place, its surroundings begin to glow from its illumination. This is the sequence we must take in order to bring positive change to ourselves and the people surrounding us.
As you evolve to become a better person, people will begin to appreciate your dynamic character. They will realize that you are someone who is open to change, to improvement and will have to up their game to stay at your level. One by one, you would have changed the world.
Be the change because actions speak louder than words.