The title of this week’s article is probably one of the most used quotes ever. Mahatma Ghandi’s, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” has most likely being quoted by every personal development guru, entrepreneur, business leader, teacher and just about anyone into personal development. In this week’s article I will give my account of why it is so important to be the change in the world as opposed to waiting for the world around us to change – some people wait their whole life time for this to happen and guess what? It often never does!
Being The Change You Wish To See
I love this idea so much as it is what teachers tell their students, coaches tell their clients and parents tell their children, but what are some real life examples of people that we can look up to? For example, I love the work that Scott Harrison is doing in his charity called Charity Water. Long story short, he came upon parts of the world that do not have clean and safe water to drink so he started a charity which is providing clean and safe water to the world.
Now it did not happen overnight and there was a lot of work that went into it, though he is in my opinion of a perfect example of someone who is being the change that he wishes to see in the world. His mission is for everyone in the world to have clean and safe water. He is well on his way to achieving that. Check out Scott’s work here.
Being Who You Want To Be Is Not Just For Charity Owners
Ghandi’s message is such a powerful one because it can be applied to everyone in every situation. In coaching we always tell clients to focus on how you respond to a circumstance as opposed to focusing on something that you cannot change. This allows clients, and ourselves, to focus on who we want to be when circumstances are given to us.
“In my experience, those who have mastered the art of turning undesirable circumstances into lesson and opportunities to grow have found true richness and joy in their lives.”
Yes, I am always working towards this.
Being a Role Model and Example
One great piece of advice that was given to me at the start of my teaching career and when I became a parent was that,
“Being the person and role model who you want your kids to be is still the best way to teach and pass on beliefs, values and life-skills.”
No one likes a hypocrite, and respect and admiration are born when people can see that you are practising what you preach every day. If you are the person who can accept circumstances (things that we cannot change) as they are but take full responsibility to how you respond to circumstances then you will be one of life’s greatest role models and teachers.
I am lucky to be surrounded by people who are living the life they want for the rest of the world every day, so I have great role models to look up to. Though what can we do if we feel that we don’t have anybody around us who we can emulate and carry on their legacy?
Making A Conscious Effort To Be The Person You Want To Be Now
People who are successful – they’ve achieved what they set out to do and are continually growing – have developed and mastered a great skill:
“They decide on the change that they want in their life, visualise who they need to be to get there, then start making small but significant changes to start becoming that person now.”
For example if you are someone who wants to reduce your anger and have more joy in your life, your plan of action could look like the following:
- Accept that I need to take full responsibility for our lives.
- Visualise being a person who is calm and grateful for what they have. I have the foresight to see that a life without anger is the true life I want. Within that visualisation I see myself laughing with my family, going on a date with my perfect partner and leaving work feeling fulfilled. Write this visualisation into a goal.
- Work backwards from this goal and make a plan of action to get started! This may include finding triggers that make me angry.
- Enrolling in coaching or anger management classes
- Literally write down in a diary or in my phone what actions I am going to do and when. For instance breathing exercises, gratefulness meditation, etc.
- Keep a journal of their wins along the way.
- Accept failures as lessons and keep referring back to their goal and visualisation.
One of the main points about setting goals is for personal growth. You will have to be a different person then you are now to achieve a different outcome then the one you have now. You will have to build new habits then the ones you have now to be the person you want to be.
I Am Learning That Life Is A Mirror!
Like I always say in my posts and articles, I am not tossing any stones here; I am learning my life lesson like everybody else. One of the things that has taken me many years to learn and I am still practising it, is to use my external environment as an indicator for my internal environment. Meaning, if I want things to change on the outside, I have to be that person on the inside first.
If I want to have great friends, I have to be one first. If I want to have a great partner, I need to be one first. Here’s one for the parents out there, if you want to have calm kids you need to be calm first.
Build Up That Muscle -Practise, Practise, Practise!
Practise makes perfect. Whether you are training for something tangible like a body building competition or learning how to knit, consistent practice is the key. The same also applies when you are building up your identity. The brain is a muscle which needs constant work, practice and more work.
Building a new identity will involve taking tangible actions steps, constant reflection and tangible action steps, and then maybe a bit more reflection and then… Yes! Tangible action steps.
Using your time to shut off from the world, mainly your phone and devices, and reflect on who you need to be will be a worthwhile investment. Upon looking at those older than me, it is a habit that will pay dividends many years from now.
So what can you do? Research the people who you admire. What qualities do they possess? Read books, ask questions, mimic what they do. Keep practising. Keep having small wins. Keep having failures, or put another way, growth opportunities.
“Take this one opportunity to be the person you wish to see in this world!”
Article In A Nutshell
Ghandi’s message will always be with us. It is a timeless quote that allows us to make plans and put plans into actions. I believe it is those people who take Ghandi’s quote literally and put the work in, both physically and mentally, who will reap the most rewards in this lifetime.