This thought-provoking post is by my now long-time pal Craig Morton. Craig Morton works as a Life Coach at Ignite Change where he helps people get unstuck and take action in their lives. He also practices and teaches yoga and is currently in the process of moving to Laos, South East Asia
Gandhi’s powerful but overused/pop cultured quote of “Be the change you want to see in the world” looks great on necklaces and makes you feel good when you read it, but what do we really do with it?
It is a remarkably simple statement and like all great simple statements, it is not easy to put into action.
Quotes are great to get you thinking and in the moment when we are upset at an injustice or see a quote, we get fired up. But the fire can often be more like a spark in it’s bright flash and quick fade.
So think about it.
What change could you really be in the world? What bugs you the most and how can you implement it into your personal change?
Why I’m asking
I’m currently living a few blocks from Mission St. in San Francisco. This area is an odd mix of newer upscale restaurants, a strong latino population and a lot of homeless.
Poverty, and especially homelessness, is something that wrenches my gut when I see it. My answer when asked “what is my biggest fear in life?”, is not to be buried alive or eaten by sharks, but rather having to live on the street.
Each morning around 6:30am on my way to Ashtanga Yoga practice, I walk by the same guy sitting by the entrance; his coat draped over his head, often shoeless, siting on a crate and leaning against the shop window trying to sleep.
I feel bad but keep walking.
Gandhi’s quote pops into my head, and for a brief moment, I feel the urge to do something positive or think about actual solutions, but my mind goes to blaming larger problems like society, government and even him. And by the time I get to the stairs, my mind has drifted to something else.
I’d like to be the change that I want to see in the world. I’d like to see this one guy be in a better place. So that’s the change I’m going to work on this week.
Today I bought him some food, and tomorrow I’ll leave it beside him. My goal is to do this every couple of days for the rest of my stay here.
This won’t tackle the entire change I’d like to see, but no single small act ever does. But smaller acts lead to bigger ones.
Action begets action.
Be it personal change or any other kind, change takes action. Starting with an act of kindness to another person helps forge that personal path of taking your true beliefs and putting them into action. Once this becomes a habit, then implementing what you truly want in life, be it for yourself or others, becomes less theory and more practice.
What change could you like to see in the world and what action can you take TODAY?