So You Want to Change the World?
By Jesse Medina
So, you want to change the world? That’s a good thing. That motivation has paved the way for many of the innovative ideas that we enjoy today: iPods, the internet, cars, planes, etc. It is no easy task to change the world, but if you’re really serious about doing it, I’d like to offer you some advice.
Before we get to the advice part, though, there’s something you should know. Chances are you won’t become famous as a result. I know it sounds somewhat crazy: if you changed the world, people should know your name. But let’s face it, your chances of ever being well known by any significant number of people is extremely slim. That said, changing the world has nothing to do with your fame.
Likewise, you probably won’t become rich as a result. Bummer, huh? Look on the bright side, changing the world offers satisfaction beyond just monetary gain. Besides, are you looking to change the world, or just get rich because there are plenty of ways to do the latter without changing much of anything.
Now, on to the advice:
Stop Swinging for the Fence
It sounds somewhat oxymoronic to think that in order to hit a home run you need to stop trying to hit a home run, but that’s the truth. If I can stick with this baseball analogy for a bit…home run hitters aren’t good at what they do because of their incredible strength, custom bats, or strategic stances. They are good at what they do, and they hit home runs, because of the small things they do (i.e. the practice) day in and day out. At the end of the day, hitting home runs is about doing the small things: keeping your eye on the ball and swinging the bat.
Why then do we think changing the world would be any different? Many of us run from one big thing to the next with the hopes that this one will be the one that does the trick. For us, changing the world is about doing the kinds of things that get noticed big things, significant things, things that shift paradigms and roll heads.
We are sadly mistaken. And because we swing for the fence, we pile up more strike-outs than hits.
Change Yourself First
I’m tempted to quote Gandhi, but instead I’ll just point out that he was right: if you want something to be different, you only have to look in the mirror (props to Michael Jackson here as well). The problem with this little tidbit is that we all say “Oh yeah, right, I’ve already done that,” when, in fact, we haven’t. We want to change the world through love and yet we harbor bitterness, unforgiveness, bias, and fear. Seriously, change yourself first. If you don’t, you won’t be changing the world, you’ll just be multiplying hypocrites and, well, that’s not much of a change at all.
He who has ears, let him hear.
Start AND END With Your Circle of Influence
Think about the people who, if you had just a single day with, you’d choose as your company as you go about changing the world. Who would you choose? The President? Your boss? A celebrity? CEOs? Randy, Kara, Simon and Ellen (sorry Paula)?
Yeah, I thought that might be the case. But, that’s swinging for the fence. You actually have some people who, if you did your job, would add exponential strength to your world-changing cause. They are called your family. Yep, the old ball and chain and those little monkeys who break everything they are your key to world-change.
But don’t just start with them… end with them. Your family (by the way, family doesn’t just mean marriage partner and kids, it could mean mom and dad, brothers and sisters, etc.) are not just a step along the way or a means to an end. They are the end.
Have you ever noticed in movies (and real life) nobody sits on their death bed mourning the fact that they never took that one golf trip, or that they never had the chance to be ridiculed by a British guy in front of the whole country (okay, well, maybe some do mourn that) people mourn about neglecting their friend and families and not making amends where they needed to be made.
So you want to change the world?
Good. Stay small. Look in the Mirror. Love Your Friends and Family. You’ll be surprised at just how much the world changes.
Jesse is a twenty-something married guy living in Colorado who is trying to figure out what it means to follow Christ in the twenty-first century. He wants to change the world, be famous, get rich, and yet live the simple life. This article was written to himself and he hopes you benefit from it. You can read more of his thoughts at his blog, Balancing Tension.