One of the most difficult things is not to change society – but to change yourself. – Nelson Mandela
What does that mean?
The basis of this quote is something which I have firmly believed for quite some time, having tried to change myself a few times over the years.
In the mean time, I have seen the society in which I live change quiet a bit, without any effort from me. And that is part of the quote as well. The world keeps changing, but do we?
And yet, despite all the change, there are some things we just don’t want to change. Call them habits or rituals, or something else entirely, we just don’t want to give it up.
It can be done, but it takes effort, determination, and repetition. And it takes time to break old habits and make new ones. How long? That depends on your level of motivation and your reason why.
Why is changing yourself important?
Have you perfected yourself yet? I would imagine most of us have not. We are imperfect in so many ways that perfection appears beyond any of us. But to me, that matters not in the slightest. We are all capable of improving in some aspects of our lives. Even in the places where we are at our best, change for the better is still possible.
Even Olympic Champions practice for the next time they compete. They tape their performance and watch it for small flaws to help them do better next time. We may not compete at that level, but we can still improve ourselves, change ourselves for the better. Well, at least I know I can. How about you?
Imagine your life, if you had stopped changing as a child. Pick an age, and stay that way forever. Sounds like fun, but how long before you want to do what the older kids are doing? But you can’t do that, because you can’t change. Suddenly, change sounds a little better, doesn’t it? I think it does.
So why stay the same if all the world is changing around you? Habit, mostly. Comfort as well. You know how to do things this way, because you’ve been doing it for a while. If you change, you might not like the result, or you might have to tweak it for a while. But change will come. Be ahead of the curve.
Where can I apply this in my life?
As mentioned before, change is happening all around you. Even society is changing, for better or for worse. If you want to change the world, there is only one thing you can do. And that thing? That would be to change yourself. Because if you don’t you will be stuck right there, forever.
I don’t know about you, but I like improving myself. That said, there are things I’m still trying to change in myself, like my posture. And that is where having a reason why is so important. Why do you need to change? Why is it impossible to continue in this manner? If you have a strong enough why, you will find a way.
If the reason why is strong enough, it will permeate your being, and even when you aren’t thinking about it, you will have something going in the back of your mind. It will monitor what you are doing, and help you avoid returning to old habits. But it must be strong. Otherwise you will have to notice your old habit before you can change back to the new pattern.
The other part of change is your motivation. If you have it, you will keep trying. When your motivation runs out, change stops. Think of the reason why as the power of your engine, and the motivation as the gas in your tank. You need both to go anywhere, right? Now all you need is a map and a destination, right?
If you know what you want to change in yourself, you have a destination. If you have a reason why it absolutely, positively, has to be done, you’re in a good position. Add motivation, to fuel your drive, and you’re almost there. Just keep at it, and adjust your route around the detours and you will get there eventually. In the mean time, you’ll keep getting closer.
Going back to the quote, what changes would you like to see in the world? What can you do to change yourself to be the person others could imitate in that aspect of life? If you want peace in the world, but have trouble with your temper, how much weight do your words have when you speak of world peace?
Yet changing yourself will be far more difficult than campaigning for others to change the world around you, right? An what if they did? What if you were the only non-peaceful person in the world. That would be embarrassing, wouldn’t it? By starting with yourself, you can beat the rest of the world to your objective. You win. 8)
Now think about what it is that you would really like to see happen in the world. How can you make that same change in yourself? If you can’t do it for yourself, how can you help others make that change in themselves, or in the world?
From: Twitter, @quotepage
confirmed at : http://www.csmonitor.com/2000/0210/p15s1.html/(page)/4 at the top
Photo by quinn.anya