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Note: This is a guest post by John Crovis of The Pageless Book.
Do you want to make this world a better place? Simply be a good person, live with good intentions, and make love your guiding principal. Without any effort beyond these, you make the world a better place for friend and stranger alike.
However, let us suppose you do not just want to make the world a better place; suppose you wanted to change the world in a fundamental way. Sitting back and allowing life to unfold within the confines of normal society isn’t your style – you want to change societyas a whole for the better. That type of change isn’t easy, safe, or simple. How do you go about initiating such a change?
Looking at the lives of those who have changed the world before, a pattern emerges. There are seven distinct steps to changing the world. Not one of these steps are easy and each of these steps rely heavily on your ability to carry out the other steps. Yet the fact that it has been done before is evidence that it is humanly possible for one individual to lead sweeping social change.
Step 1. Be The Change
The first step in changing the world is for most people the hardest step to take. You must embody the change you wish to see completely and become your cause personified.
Think for a moment of Susan B. Anthony and how she became the mascot for woman’s equality. Ponder upon Gandhi, and how he was peaceful resistance incarnate. Contemplate the life and death of Martin Luther King Jr., and see how he immersed himself in the cause for civil rights.
If you want to change the world, you must first be willing to give yourself over to your cause. It’s a terrifying prospect on an individual level, because it makes you fundamentally different than the rest of society. You now have a purpose, and you cannot ignore that purpose no matter how tempting it may be.
Step 2. Build Companionship
It may be tempting to simply gather like minded people to your cause and to shut out all the nay sayers, but ultimately this is counter productive to your cause. You will need to not only engage those who disagree with you, but earn their respect through listening and understanding them.
Like Jesus, your companions will need to be both from the dredges of society and from the elite. Build your company from all of humanity, because to reach all of humanity, you must be one with all humanity.
Step 3. Say What Needs To Be Said
Stagnation of society occurs when people fail to address the problems they face. Someone needs to break the silence and point out what everyone knows to be true but are afraid to mention.
In order to change the world, you would need to be that person.
When Jesus said, “Think not that I come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace but a sword,” he was speaking to the fact that what he said, not everyone wanted to hear.
Any of the great men and women who changed our society might have said this in earnest. At times, speaking the truth will be the most shocking and offensive thing you could do. The truth will earn you enemies, but it will also set you free.
Step 4. Do What Needs To Be Done
Words without action are meaningless. Your actions must match what you say, or no one will take you seriously. Talking the good fight makes you little more than a blow-hard, but actually following through and leading by example makes you dangerous. Whether this means taking in the poor, the sick, and the homeless, giving all you have to save one life, or simply keeping your promises, action is what makes you a hero.
It isn’t glamourous, clean, or easy, but that is because changing the world is humiliating, dirty, and hard work. However, ask anyone who volunteers in a soup kitchen, serves as a hospital nurse, or helps build homes for the poor, and they will tell you that it is uniquely rewarding work.
Step 5. Go Where You Are Needed
On March 10th, 1965, the white Unitarian minister, James Reeb from Boston, laid on his death bed in Alabama after having been severely beaten by three white men shouting racial slurs. He risked everything to end the injustice of segregation in America, leaving his four children and wife to visit Selma Alabama just after the bloodiest day in civil rights history.
Why? Because that is where he needed to be. While his death may have been called a tragedy at the time, but it was the choice he made in life that became the tipping point in the struggle for civil rights. His death showed racial hatred to be the immoral, unconscionable monster that we know it to be today. If it wasn’t for Reverend Reeb choosing to go where he was needed, the struggle in Selma Alabama might have lasted much longer.
Step 6. Celebrate All Victories
Changing the world is a steep and slippery uphill battle. How do you keep your spirits up in the face of such over whelming odds? By celebrating each and every victory, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
Every success in changing the world is cumulative with the achievements that occurred before. If you celebrate every victory, you can help yourself remain optimistic that change is possible, and if you are optimistic, those around you will be optimistic as well. What if your own hope for the future should fail?
Step 7. Persist
Finally, you must persist. In the effort to change the world on a fundamental level, you start having already lost the struggle. Gandhi, as an example, lived in a country that was ruled by what was once the greatest military force in the world and vowed to convince them to leave without violence. The British had absolutely no reason to listen to this man, and yet little by little, he gained the attention and respect of those in authority. He was persistent; it was only through his persistence that Gandhi saw the change occur in his life-time.
Now, it might be fine and well to talk about changing the world, but it isn’t for everyone. However, these steps do not just apply to the grand struggles of historical men and women; these seven steps are also a good guide by which to live your life by.
The world which you change needs not be the entire globe, but can instead be the globe of influence you have in your life. While it is more work to make these changes for the better, the impact of your words and deeds are multiplied by the dedication you place in those words and deeds. If we all would live in this manner, we would no longer need to talk about making the world a better place, as it will already be great.
John Crovis is a young man, sharing his spiritual insight and journey into ministry on his blog, The Pageless Book. If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to his feed or read one of his other articles such as The Nature Of Reality.
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