Such a lofty goal to want to change the world. We grow up reading about it and look up to those who have somehow left an impact in this big world. Growing up, it is easy to aspire to change the world. Then, adulthood happens. In a split second, we are left to face a sobering reality that maybe it is not possible to change the world, and yet again, it remains just as a lofty goal.
Even if we persist on changing the world, the hurdles are aplenty. The limitations of our own existence, personal responsibilities and of course the emotional quotient. Changing the world requires drastic actions, being able to call out to people and mobilise a movement. In today’s digitalized world, perhaps inventing something for humanity would go a long way.
The realist in me quickly realised early on that changing the world is not for me. I was already struggling with adulthood myself. Figuring out where I fit, career directions and of course people is already exhausting enough. So, I shelved the aspiration for another lifetime.
I was wrong. Changing the world is not lofty aspiration after all! I owe this realization to some ordinary human beings who try so hard to impact humanity positively. Maybe it is difficult to rally up a movement, have a trending hashtag or change the course of history. However, showing up in our daily lives with kindness and thoughtfulness is not. Interacting with our environment with empathy is doable. The size of the footprint left behind is not important, just that there is a mark.
Of course, all those are just words. Without actions, they mean nothing. When I tried it, I realized that helping people in need was easier for me than others. My struggle was on an emotional level, like refraining from making a sarcastic remark, to genuinely wish well for someone when I myself am not doing too well, to not be envious or even to show up in a positive way. My struggles were very apparent during times of difficulties. But it took some effort to not fall off the bandwagon and to practice kindness in a conscious way. This definitely shifted my perspective!
I began to realise that these people I so admire, who are trying to make an impact, have one thing in common. They are positive, kind and are willing to open their lives. Be it in sharing something material or their experiences. They touch lives because they empathize instead of judging. They smile, lift and encourage. That’s everyday leadership. Alone it may not look much, but a single act of kindness changes a person’s life at that moment. Collectively, that changes the world!
So, how do we fit in? I think we start with kindness, empathy, love and perhaps a small dose of courage. Because it is not only vital that we demonstrate kindness within our own circle, but it is perhaps more important that we voice out in the face of injustice. Start small, save that kid from being bullied, call out someone who is racist/sexist, share your story, avoid being mean and just show up for people. That also changes the world.