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How YOU Can Change the World

change the world

If you had the power to fix any problem and change 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’s a sampling of some things people would fix if they could: 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 change the world by choosing 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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19 Comments

  1. Glori April 27, 2012 Reply

    I have a cynical view when it comes to topics like these.
    I’m too small to make a difference no matter what movies or the media say. See? There I did it again.
    But I do believe we can help change things and the lives of people immediately close to us.
    I’ve long accepted the fact that i cant make a dent in the world, but I can always change myself and help those around me.

    • Jonathan July 18, 2012 Reply

      Hi Glori, changing your life and the lives of those around is how we make a dent in it. If enough people do that, it creates a tipping point that touches everyone.

  2. Evan April 28, 2012 Reply

    Hi Glori, Jonathan didn’t highlight it but he said ‘individually and collectively’. It is by co-operation that we can bring change beyond our immediate circle. Change in our immediate world is important too.

    • Jonathan July 18, 2012 Reply

      Well said Evan, thanks for filling in the blanks. I appreciate it very much.

  3. Mac April 29, 2012 Reply

    the thing that I have the hardest time with is the negative results when proposing a different idea. I just had a person unfriend me because she believes that we should raise minimum wage by at least 10%. That would give an employee about $120 more per month.
    I proposed doing away with our form of welfare and making a work/training program where people had to work if they drew welfare or worked on min-wage.
    I was accused to lack humanity because ‘obviously’ I am republican (but the work/training program that I propose was put in place by democrats in the late 30′s).
    Just because I was offering a different plan I was wrong.
    So – for me – the hardest thing about fixing a big problem is that people will choose a side, even if there are not sides to choose from.

    • Jonathan July 18, 2012 Reply

      Hi Mac, indeed, sometimes narrow mindsets and the flaws of human nature works against the greater good.

  4. I was just discussing this very topic with someone. I think that many people walk around aimlessly in life, leaving their negative impact on people and places they’ve touched. They break up hotel rooms, they bad-talk people behind their backs, they splash people in the street with their cars.

    I want to change the world by doing the opposite. I want to make a positive impact on everyone and on every place I’ve touched. I think we all can improve the world if we decide this today.

    Great post.

    • Jonathan July 18, 2012 Reply

      Hi Anne, the world is a collective. As such, our positive influence can reach out in ways we never imagined. I run this blog and my coaching business from my home in a remote mountainous area of southern Oregon, and yet, because of technology I am able to reach hundreds of thousands of people every month. Positive individuals can make a positive difference.

  5. Mabel Pierce April 29, 2012 Reply

    Great post and yes I agree. Change should start in each and everyone of us. Every single and tiny change counts and if we’ll continue to change, it will all make a big difference.

  6. Lorii Abela April 30, 2012 Reply

    To be able to change the world, I believe one should change him/herself first. Then by doing so, they can influence others to do the same.

  7. Harold Y. May 1, 2012 Reply

    Some may not realize it but small things can make big chances. I really believe in that, that’s why I try to make a difference to the youth. Do you run programs that help youth?

    Thanks for sharing!

    -Harold Y

  8. I loved the way you concluded this article, Jonathan! Well, it’s quite impossible to argue with you – your logic is so impeccable – so I will have to say yes! I do my best to contribute to the world in positive ways through my thoughts, words, and deeds including the consumer choices I make. Of course, the latter can be a little tricky since everything is so interlinked, but each positive step we take is a step in the right direction. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Jonathan July 18, 2012 Reply

      Hi Sandra, encouragement is a two way street and I am grateful for yours also!

  9. Marquita Herald March 11, 2014 Reply

    Inspiring message Jonathan. I also think that there is a tendency to focus on BIG world problems which can so easily create a feeling of overwhelm. While there is no question of the need, I believe a good place to start is in our own communities. The first time I chaired a County Food Drive I knew nothing about the working poor and it was quite an eye opener.

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