05 April 2011

Change The World

It's amazing to me that some people don't want to change the world, at least in some small way. I'm a rather content guy, but I have a hard time fathoming how a person could look at the world around them and be satisfied with the status quo.

And yet, Hugh MacLeod's commentary is right - not everyone wants to make a big difference. I know some people have a hard enough time just surviving, let alone changing the world. I understand that. What I don't understand is the comfortable & competent people who don't make an effort to improve things.

For those of you who want to change the world, the opportunities are endless. The trick is figuring out how to do it.

Lately I've been told, emphatically and with great conviction, that change only happens when it's led by Top Leaders. As in, people who sit at the peak of the org chart, people with corner offices and multiple stars on their shoulders... or better yet, people who tell people with stars on their shoulders what to do. Those are the only people who can institute big, meaningful change.

Other times I've been told the only real change is grassroots driven, that it's all about Power From The People. You need to harness the power of the masses in order to bring about real change.

I'm not sure either opinion is quite correct. Instead, I think Hugh is right - the key to making change is to want to make change. I'm not sure it matters how much formal authority a person has. Ghandi and Jesus seemed to do just fine. Martin Luther King wasn't exactly a Formal Authority Figure either.

Bottom line: I'm not convinced you and I need to become CEO's or Generals or High Ranking Public Officials if we're going to change the world. I'm not even sure we need to get those people on board with our ideas... for that matter, I'm not sure how much their support really helps. I think the key to changing the world is to want to do it... and as Hugh explained, not everybody does.


Breanne said...

My boss once said: "If you can change the way you think, you can change the world." She's actually writing a book that will be released in September called Now You're Thinking, and it will share a heartfelt story of someone who risked everything to save one little girl. I agree with you. You don't have to be Bill Gates, Barack Obama, or Oprah to make a difference. Yesterday, my auto insurance agent made a difference in my life, and he didn't really do anything for me. He helped someone else at his own expense, which made me think about going out of my way to help someone else. It was a "pay it forward" moment, and those little things matter to the person being helped! Change the way you think, and you can change the world!

JGHansen said...

The truth is, we all change the world everyday, whether we intend to or want to. Our actions (or inactions) make a difference (the Butterfly Effect) to someone, somewhere, and the ultimate impact on the world cannot be known in advance. So the question is, do you want your inevitable impact to be positive or negative? Act accordingly.

Regarding positions of power and changing the world, great leaders know that it is their job to empower others to make positive change, encourage them to do it, and reward them when they do. Power is a great tool to help spread positive change, but great leaders know how to make change happen through the power of others. When the leaders of the world understand that it's their job to enable others to impact the world, THAT will be a world changing event!

Phil said...

how's that quote go? "to change the world, change yourself." something like that anyway.

The Dan Ward said...

Thanks for the comments, all! Great stuff to ponder...