Have you ever asked yourself, “how can I change the World?”
It’s a question that I often ask myself, though the answer can be hard to find. However, I want to share with you what I’ve come up with so far on the subject.
The way I see it, there are only two realistic ways to change the World for the better, you can either invent something that will improve people’s lives throughout the World, or you can influence enough people to change their lives so that it has a Worldwide effect.
Of course, there are many other ways that you can help improve people’s lives in some way, such as giving food to the hungry, or helping the homeless. However, whilst those are all very noble acts, they’re only really tackling the effect and not the cause. It’s a bit like tackling a water leak with a mop and bucket, rather than fixing the broken pipe. If we really want to change the World, we need to start fixing all the broken pipes.
Don’t lead, influence!
Now, I’m not going to delve into inventions here, as that’s an in depth subject all of its own, so I’ll keep the focus on changing the World through influence. Firstly though, I want to define a critical difference between leading people, and influencing people.
Leading people means getting people to follow your example, follow your instructions, or copy you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re changing the way that those people think. Therefore, unless you keep leading them, many are likely to fall back into their old ways.
Influencing people, on the other hand, means getting people to change their mindset so that they can live their lives in a way that is of greater benefit to them. It’s more about educating people than leading people. In fact, the World is such a huge place that you’d never be able to lead everybody. Instead, you have to let your influence spread so that leaders who share your view naturally rise to the surface.
Throughout history, people have also influenced people into changing their lives in negative ways, and convinced them to carry out acts that seem outside the realms of “acceptable human behaviour”, therefore, you have to be really sure about the goodness of the messages you’re sending out.
This leads to the first problem with trying to change the World: What message do you send out?
Check your message
If you want to be a World influencer, you have to be prepared to work on and adapt your own world view. Just like the inventor who tests things out and often has to adapt when those tests don’t work, you mustn’t be afraid to admit that something isn’t working, and change your view.
In the process of writing articles for this site, I often find myself rethinking things as I go along. Sometimes, it’s not until I actually write something down that I see flaws in my thinking that force me to reconsider my viewpoint. If you really wish to change the World, you must be prepared to do the same. Too much of the conflict and suffering in the World is caused by opposing forces who refuse to deviate from their fixed world view.
Society is made up of many, many people, who have many, many different views about how things should be, therefore, you can’t make people change their minds by force. You need to find some sort of common ground upon which you can start to build dialogue, and from that you can work towards changes.
There’s nothing wrong with starting small
You don’t need to change the whole World right away. Start small. Start with your local community if you wish. Perfect your influencing skills, and perfect your view on how the World can be made better. You may find that influence is a two-way street, and that you actually have some of your views changed by the people you come into contact with. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you keep focused on your dream of making the World a better place.
The most important thing is to make a start. Take a look around you and try to identify all the things that are wrong in the World, then start looking for sensible, achievable solutions. Once you’ve found those, you can start sharing your solutions with others.
To learn more about the differences between a leader and an influencer, please read: Why it’s better to be an Influencer than a Leader.