“We all want to change the world.”
~ John Lennon
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Okay, so not everyone necessarily wants to change the world but, if you’re like I am, maybe you want to change some other people; perhaps those you most love, are friends with, or have to work with. And, if you’re like I am, you want to change them into your image.
That’s just a human thing…ain’t it?
And, there are two major challenges with this philosophy that I see…
- We Ain’t Poifect. The challenge is that until we become a better, more effective version of ourselves, then trying to change someone else into our image is fruitless at best and counterproductive at worst.
- Self-Improvement Lessens Our Desire to Change Others. As we begin to see an evolution of growth and effectiveness in ourselves, we feel less a need to control the actions of others. This, of course, isn’t a challenge but rather, like the man or woman who conquers an enemy simply by making them a friend, we have advanced the entire process.
Only by growing and becoming more advanced personally can we ever really influence the world around us…not by force, but simply by being a much more effective version of…us.
So, change others? Naw. Instead, let’s take the advice of another very wise man:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
That’s much more better-er! 😉
Years ago, I learned a very simple method for increasing my personal effectiveness from studying the work of Benjamin Franklin. It changed my life dramatically and can do the same for you. If you’d like more information, visit Master Your Traits.
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Such great advice and wisdom here, Bob. A reminder of this important truth is always welcome. Not only is it easier to change ourselves, it is much more rewarding. I’m always pleased (as opposed to proud) of myself when I am able to shift the focus back to me when I am challenged with someone. I feel….. like a grown up 🙂
Bob, somehow I missed this post! And this is a big one!
I think what you’re describing is the natural evolution of self-development/self-growth. At first, we see all these amazing possibilities for ourselves (and of course for everyone else as well! Lol), and we want to share all this new found goodness/enlightenment with the world. But then as we move further down the path, I think we begin to become aware of the powerful truth that teaching by example makes the information far more palatable (And powerful) for many around us who might be resistant to the direct “Let me show you what I know, and it’ll make you great like me!” stuff. Lol. Ego (both the one being bandied about and the one getting bandied on!) tends to shut off most folks from this kind of “sharing”.
Nothing tends to be more annoying than the recently (and exuberantly) enlightened!! Lol.
I have found that teaching by example tends to draw those that are ready for something new towards you, and if they’re really ready, they may even ask a few questions about how you manage to do what you do. 🙂
One of my all-time favorite quotes that I think speaks to this perfectly is from St. Francis of Assisi, and it goes something like this: Preach the gospel daily, and when necessary use words. 🙂
As always, super appreciate you Bob!
Linda: That’s awesome. You ARE grown up. And, I remember you when you were just a baby. (Not really.) 😉
Sean: Actually, I posted this one much later in the day than usual. Hey, thank you for the terrific teachings you shared in your comments. Awesome, my friend. Thank YOU.
Great post Bob. Thanks so much. Once we realize all we can change is ourselves, our life takes a completely different and more fulfilling direction.
It really does, doesn’t it, Mari. And, as we become more effective, our influence with others seems to grow as a result. Thank you for your wise comment!
Bob, this is the first time I’ve stumbled onto your blog–and I’m glad I did. I have been talking about this concept in the context of teams. Too often, team members point their fingers at everyone but themselves as the source of team dysfunction. As with the moral of your story, I spend a lot of time helping them see both how they contributed to creating the problem and how they can be part of the solution!
I look forward to checking out more of your posts. Thanks.
Hi Liane, thank you so much for stopping by. And, for sharing your wisdom with us. Indeed, so very true within the context of teams. Sounds like you’re doing some terrific things!
Great post…i am growing faster with a coach like you my friend!!!
Very kind of you, Don Julio. Very appreciated!!!
Another Lenin (Communist, not cooner) said that the goal was to change society in order to change man…Wisdom teaches us that society is changed one man (person) at a time – and yes, that’s us!
I agree Bob – the closer I draw to Wisdom, the clearer I see my need and the stronger is the hope!
That’s right, Ted. Individuals change society, society cannot change man/woman/individuals, since society is merely a collection of individuals. Just one of many false premises of Socialism and Communism. I wouldn’t put too much stock into what V. Lennon said. It didn’t work out too well for them.