If you had the power to fix any problem in the world, what would you choose to fix and why? Recently I asked this very question on facebook and twitter. We all recognize that there are plenty of things going on in this world that cause unnecessary pain and suffering. I asked this question because I was curious to know which issues were of greatest concern to those I interact with.
As you can imagine, there were a lot of caring people with something of value to contribute. Here is a sampling of the many responses I got: corruption, jealousy, gender inequality, hunger, heartache, suicide bombing, and war.
Would you change those things if you could?
Of course you would, we all would, because such things offend our deepest sense of right and wrong. The truth is, the vast majority of our fellow human beings are also troubled by these kinds of injustices and wish they could find a way to do something about them.
That’s why there are so many well supported charities and positive action groups. Wherever you see unnecessary pain and suffering you will also find at least one group of people who care enough to try to right the wrong. It’s a beautiful testimony to the caring nature of people in general.
But what really needs to change?
Is there some root cause or common denominator that fuels the majority of these problems and injustices? And if so, is there anything you can do about it? Well, I believe the answer to both questions is yes. First, let’s consider the root cause.
If you look closely at most of the problems that create pain and suffering on the world scene, I think that you will discover that greed plays a prominent role. Greed is defined as an intense or extreme selfish desire for wealth, power, or material possessions. When someone cultivates this desire to an extreme, they tend to abandon their concern for the welfare of others.
Chasing the illusion
It should be noted that greed is fueled by a misguided attempt to fill certain basic human needs. Interestingly, none of those needs can ever be filled with a greedy, selfish approach. No matter how much wealth, power, or material possessions might be acquired through greedy pursuits, they will never be able to fill the void.
What are those basic human needs that can’t be satisfied by wealth, power, or material possessions? They are core needs like happiness, contentment, fulfillment, gratification, and satisfaction. The ridiculous illusion that any of these core essentials can be filled by selfish or greedy pursuits has plagued mankind throughout history. It simply does not work that way, it never has and it never will.
Becoming part of the solution
If greed is at the heart of the problem, then what is the solution and what can we do about it? For starters, we need to dispel the illusion that external sources have the ability to satisfy our most basic human needs. Things like happiness, contentment, fulfillment, gratification, and satisfaction are an inside job. They are not something we pursue, they are something we embrace and cultivate.
A guided journey of self discovery can put us in touch with our true nature and core values. If we align our lives according to those values, our passions and response patterns will fortify those values and we will behave in a way that feels harmonious with our true nature. This is how we nurture feelings of happiness and contentment. This is also the key to how you can become part of the solution rather than a contributor to the problem.
Exerting a positive influence
Each of us can choose to live, and use our resources, in a way that counteracts the influence of greed and selfishness. How can we do that? One way is by manifesting qualities like compassion, charity, and generosity. This will have a direct influence on everyone we interact with and will encourage them to embrace a higher standard. But we can and should do more!
We can choose to use our resources to support the growth of companies and businesses that take a responsible approach toward this planet and the people on it. In the world of business, money talks and the collective voice of the masses is what decides who succeeds and who doesn’t. Responsible spending and consumer awareness has the power to change the playing field.
You can change the world
Never underestimate the ability of a small group of dedicated people to
change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Individually and collectively we have the ability to facilitate positive change. Before we can make that happen though, we need to raise the bar on what we expect from ourselves. Once we step up and take responsibility for our own actions and attitudes, we need to interact with the world in a way that supports those brave individuals and companies who also conduct themselves in a responsible way.
You have the power to change the world. The question is, will you?
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