“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy
It was the American author and speaker John C. Maxwell who wrote: “Most people want to change the world to improve their lives, but the world they need to change first is the one inside themselves.”
Everyone has an opinion on what is wrong with the world, yet few will do the work to improve their own lives.
It is easy to draw attention to what is wrong in the world because on one level it is frustrating to observe these conditions and stand back while they take place.
I often remind myself and others, the world has existed for 4.54 billion years and is much older and wiser than us.
We have existed for a minor part in that timeline and conditions weren’t always ideal, in fact history shows conditions were less than idyllic.
So, a Utopian paradise needn’t exist for us to be happy. We can still thrive despite the unrest in the world because outside conditions aren’t as bad as you think they are.
If you want to change reality start with yourself first and attend to your own personal development. In doing so, problems give way to solutions and no longer affect you.
Author Larry Weidel writes in Serial Winner: 5 Actions to Create Your Cycle of Success: “If we all live the richest life possible, it’s personally fulfilling, but it also changes the world.”
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa
Most people are frustrated or angry with circumstances beyond their control. They believe if they can control these situations they will be happy.
Sometimes it is not possible since there are too many things to control. It requires redesigning your life to suit you, or playing God, neither of which are possible.
It is simpler to attend to your own personal development. So when you feel frustrated, angry or any other disempowering state, become curious and work on that part of you that is at war with reality.
It is futile trying to change conditions out there because life is constantly changing. It is like trying to keep plates spinning on a stick while more plates are added. You cannot keep up and they will eventually come crashing down.
It makes sense to work on yourself so that outside conditions no longer affect you as they once did. This is the key to enlightenment, raising your level of consciousness so you transcend problems with a higher awareness.
Albert Einstein recognised this principle when he said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Consider the following example, highlighting why you must attend to your own personal growth if you want to change the world.
Imagine 100 people who constantly complain about the state of the world. One day they collectively decide they’ve had enough and undertake personal development to change their lives.
Within months, they have stopped whining and are now open to embracing life instead of being mired in their problems. They act from a place of love, peace and joy.
You’ve heard it said, you are the sum of the five people you most associate with. Therefore, if 100 people can influence five others, we now have 500 people who are now more self-aware than before. If that cycle continues, a tipping point will occur so that anger and fear no longer prevail.
Now I am not naïve and know this Utopian reality will not miraculously emerge overnight if at all within the coming decade. Yet, undertaking personal development will not only help you, but influence those around you.
I have seen evidence of this with my family and friends and those I’ve coached. You change the world not by pointing out what is wrong with it, but by upgrading your model of reality to coincide with what you wish to see in the world.
It’s an inside-out job.
“You don’t have to change the world. You just have to change what you pay attention to in the world. And that, it turns out, is hugely powerful,” affirms Vishen Lakhiani in The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms.
“You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”―Woodrow Wilson
It was the late Dr Wayne Dyer, a well-known self-help author who said: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” He knew change must first take place from within and has a ripple effect in the lives of others. If that change is powerful enough, it will gather momentum to affect the whole of humanity.
I admit, it is difficult to focus on what is right in the world when we are governed by our internal state which gets the better of us. The media add to the negativity by reporting bad news to promote fear, and it becomes challenging to break the spell.
I often succumb to these disempowering states at times, so it is remiss of me to offer the advice and claim not to feel this way.
Yet, through my own personal development, I’ve come to appreciate these are fleeting states and I don’t remain stuck in this condition for long. Awareness has taught me that what I focus on builds momentum and becomes integrated into my reality.
So the advice is clear and simple: be aware when you are pointing the finger outside of you. Go within and attend to that part of you that is inclined to judge outside circumstances as bad.
Heal yourself first by integrating your shadow self and be mindful of your thoughts leading you down a path of negativity. If you do this often, you will break the cycle of incessant thinking that dictates there is something wrong with the world. It is worth the effort to your personal growth.
Eventually, problems that once consumed you will no longer affect you because you have upgraded your model of reality to coincide with a new awareness.
Originally published at medium.com