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I wanted to change the world

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Along the lines of my post yesterday, on The Other Side of the Wall, I want to continue with the theme of how what we do impacts others.  We can’t always see that impact immediately, so we don’t really know the impact we’re having on others.  If we can’t immediately see the impact, or even know if what we’re doing is having the right impact, then why even care?  I believe this question was answered back around 100AD…

I wanted to change the world

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

Author: unknown monk around 1100 AD

The Ripple Effect

If you throw a stone in a pond, you can see the ripples cascade out across the water.  No, the ripples don’t go on forever, but for a short time, you can see the impact of the stone you threw.  You may think the ripple effect is short-lived and thus not really impactful.  But what if you kept throwing stones in the pond?  What if you relentlessly continued to throw stones in the pond?  If you did, I promise you, there would be an impact.  You might not see it immediately, but over time, the impact would be felt.

This is true for the good and the bad things we do in life.  Sure, one little action may seem to be insignificant.  One little lie won’t hurt anyone.  But continuing those same types of little actions and little lies will ripple through your life, having a negative impact.  The same is true with doing the good things in life.  If you continue those good things, positive outcomes will surely come your way.

The Takeaway

It’s true that one little action may not immediately show you it’s impact or change the world.  But it’s the consistent commitment to positive actions that can help change the world.  You have to start somewhere, and that best place to start is with yourself.  If you want to have a positive impact on the world, start with being the example of how you believe the world should be.  If you change yourself and set the example, the people around you will slowly change too.  It won’t happen overnight, and you may not see the immediate impact, but keep with it.  If you want to change the world, start with your immediate world…start with yourself.

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