The Example You Set Is Powerful, So “Be The Change You Want To See”

“Be the Change You Want to See in the World.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The first time I had heard (or seen) this saying was soon after I had graduated college when a friend had carved it into the dirt that caked my car. My friend had taken it upon herself, deep in the thoughts of recent experiences in the Peace Corps, to share some Ghandi insight with me…and my Chevy Beretta.

This simple quote is included as an item in The Self 60 – Professional Development Mind/Set for the powerful and perpetuating impact it can have in our daily lives.  It took a while for me to understand the impact that such a statement can truly make when put into action.  It took me years to realize how I wanted to proactively, yet subtly, impress upon the world the values that I found important.

“People rarely think about the indirect methods they  can use to influence others…”

People rarely think about the indirect methods they can use to influence others and the world around them. Limitations that hold us back tend to be such things as fear of judgement or rejection, or just the fact that no one has called on us to ask us for our opinions. Do not wait for the effect and environment you’re hoping for to show up and materialize on its own.  Waiting will get you nowhere.

What we put out there doesn’t have to be an outright lesson, an obvious statement, or explicit opinion; it can be an example set through our actions, attitude, and character.  The presence of these subtle attributes can demonstrate to people how powerful and easy setting a tone—setting an example–can be.

Each of us is unique so why might we not demonstrate that uniqueness on a regular basis considering we tend to notice the unique people in our world—the ones who stand out as different. For those that we notice, it’s not that we necessarily have to agree with them, but we definitely notice them. Some people call them “disruptors,” who, in various forms and levels, specialize in breaking the cycle. One would expect that identifying someone as “disruptive” might be seen as negative, as if unwelcome. But, in our case, when trying to effectuate positive and improving change, it is most welcome.

“We can’t wait until someone draws the best out of us…”

Our version of disrupting means bringing ideas forward which might not exist on the status quo’s radar.  We can’t wait until someone draws the best out of us; we have to bring the best of us to the world.  Granted, there is always a time and place to do so so we must make sure we evaluate our desires and ideals but, at the very least, we must try to put them out into the world.

No matter what the ideas are out there, everyone’s ideas might be just as valuable but it is on each of us to prove both their worth and value. Take a look at the state of the world today. “Divisive” seems to be the word of the era. There are so many factions of beliefs and ideologies with which we might not agree. If we feel our ideas can improve a way of life, of being, and of developing, it falls upon us to make sure we express them.

Similar to “Practice the Golden Rule,” we work to consciously make an effort to set the tone. The difference between these approaches is that the Golden Rule takes into consideration how we would like to be treated, whereas Being the Change allows us to set the tone to ripple through our witnesses’ worlds—whether in the workplace, personal lives, or both–without necessarily considering what might come back to us.

“All it takes is continuous small ripples to effectuate ongoing change.”

Everyone has their own timing, comfort level, and method for putting themselves out into the world in this fashion. We can all work with our best effort to make sure we are heard but no one should feel rushed to do so. The important thing is that everyone realize that they have that opportunity and it is always on us to continue making sure we’re putting out the effect that we want. This should be part of our continuing assessment.

Look at your ability, thoroughly vet your ideas to make sure they can be applied to your environment, and proceed with your plan of action, tone, and attitude. Trust yourself and your ability to effectuate change.

How much are you willing to take the initiative? What can you bring to the table?

All it takes is continuous small ripples to effectuate ongoing change.


So…What About You?

  • What do you add/could you add to your environment?
  • Have you really taken stock and reconciled your inventory of experiences, values, and knowledge to your environment?
  • Are you proactive in adding value and change to your environment? Why or why not?

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