Change — The World, or Our Piece of It?

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“Yesterday I was clever so I changed the world.  Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”

–     Rumi (1207 – 1273), Persian poet, theologian, scholar

Humor me and take a look at the dates of Rumi’s life.  700 years ago!  Seriously.  He “got it” before there was anything to “get…”

For those of you more into 80’s pop culture than 13th-century Persian poet, let’s turn to Tears for Fears, circa hit radio, 1986:

“Nothing ever lasts forever, everybody wants to change the world.”

Changing the world is an admirable pursuit, really.  It’s also fatally flawed from the onset.  Gandhi had it right — we need to be the change we want to see in the world.  Not the whole danged thing.  In it.  Our part.  Right here.  Right now.

How can we move the needle?

Kindness.  In these times, we come out firing too quickly with vitriol, judgment, and spite.  Imagine being the parent of a college quarterback or placekicker on a Sunday morning after a close loss.  Everyone should consider that perspective before their next social media post.

Forgiveness.  It’s what we’re called to do.  We can go New Testament and “turn the other cheek,” or we can stick with the OT and remember that “as far as the East is from the West…” Forgive, and be willing to be forgiven.  (We could do a whole series on “guilt,” right?  But Mom is still gone, and she’s my best source of material on the topic!)

Initiative.  Open the door for someone.  Empty the dishwasher.  Fold a load of laundry.  Offer a concession in a negotiation that shows goodwill but doesn’t sacrifice a material position.  Defer to an adversary.  Admit when we’re wrong.  It ties to kindness — and probably forgiveness — and it’s a worthwhile pursuit.

Learning.  We’re all trained.  We’ve checked several of the training boxes and our employers have tried to check them all.  Training is awesome, as long as it results in something other than simply being trained.  If training doesn’t lead to learning, it’s just an exercise with no outcome. Learning enables us to change ourselves — which, not ironically at all, is the best way to change the world, or to make a difference.

Applied to our workaday lives, imagine being seated next to a qualified co-worker who was kind, forgiving, took initiative and was constantly learning — and take a minute to feel how easy it would be to go to work every morning.  Then, as a Difference Maker, be that change.

 

 

 

 


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