The Inside-Out Approach (Be the Change)


“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

When you look out at the world, what cause inspires you? What problem motivates you to do something about it? What do you yearn to change? What local or global challenge calls to you?

Is it racism? Poverty? Human depravity? Child abuse? Drunk driving? Animal cruelty? Cancer? The environment? Fatherless children? Unhappiness?

Whatever it is, the first step to correcting the global problem is to correct the personal one.

Do you see any part of the problem reflected in your own life? If so, the first step is to go to work reducing it internally before striking out against the larger condition in the external world.

To attack corporate greed while living in your own world of personal greed is to throw stones at a giant for doing on a large scale what you’re doing on a smaller one.

The difference is in degree, not kind.

To rail against those who vote against free speech by ridiculing them when they try to speak at public events to prevent them from “telling their lies” is like trying to clean the mud off the sidewalk while standing in a pile of dog crap.

To militantly advocate for environmental causes while being too busy to recycle is to order others to live in ways you are unwilling to.

Your hypocrisy will thereby undermine your advocacy of the cause.

It is much more effective (and less hypocritical) to take your own story out of the picture by removing your participation from the problem. Only then will you start to be the change you advocate. You will exemplify the cure and begin to speak with much greater moral authority.

You will then be walking the talk–demonstrating what to do and how to do it, not just telling.

You will thereby become a greater influence in the lives of those you help to change, your own life being the first to improve, the pattern to follow, the call to action.

Leading from the front works a lot better than issuing orders from the rear while throwing stones at those who are doing what you are already doing, only differently.

It’s so much easier to talk about change than to live it. But in the end, it will be so much more effective if you walk you talk and be the change you hope to see in others.

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Self-discipline is the difference

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