Want Change? Go Be It.
by Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

 The beginning of each new year involves change. Whether it be a multi-million dollar corporation or an individual's lifestyle. Although we live in a world of constant change, we rarely notice it in our busy day-to-day lives. So when the first day of a new year appears, we look back and seek ways of changing some things we either didn't accomplish as planned, or things we discovered about our lives we want to see different.

 Although a corporate change taking place on January 1st of a new year has been planned months prior to it, an individual's new year change is almost instantaneous. Because it is an immediate decision, it has no foundation, and usually fails within days or weeks of its inception. These desired changes are all about the individual making them and how he or she wants to make their life better.

 But there is another aspect to wanting change we want to see something outside of ourselves change. We want to see our government change, our school system change, our children change, our family members change, the world, in general change, and so on. Most of the time this desire for change comes in the form of complaining and nothing else. Just know that complaining will get you nothing but stress and wasted energy.

 What you really need to do if you want to see something change is to get involved. In 1980, Candice Lightner formed an organization, MADD, after her 13 year old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been instrumental in cleaning up the roads of drunk driving in the United States for the past 30 years. She got involved.

 Mahatma Gandhi walked through India on a mission to reclaim his country from the British for the Indian people. He said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." While he ended up giving his life for his cause, it surely is not a prerequisite for becoming involved.

  Since complaining about something we want to see changed doesn't change it, then the alternative is to do something about it. If Candice Lightner could spearhead a powerful organization like MADD, then anyone can do the same. A quote I have heard over the years about change sometimes called the Serenity Prayer and used by many 12-Step programs is:

          God, grant me the serenity
          To accept the things I cannot change;
          The courage to change the things that I can;
          And the wisdom to know the difference

 The key phrase from the above is "the courage to change the things I can". Most people would ask, "but how?" We seem to be able to pick out things we think need changing easily, but when it comes to producing a solution, we fall short. Why is that? Is it because the change we want to see is really within ourselves? And if that is so, then we must start with us. 'Be the change you want to see', remember?

 Some examples might be if you want to have more love in your life, be loving. If you want a great relationship, do your part to make it that way. If you want a better government, ask how you can help do that. There are thousands more, but you get the idea. A first step to change is to stop complaining.

 Whether you are wanting to make a change around something you are doing, or not doing, personally, or a change within a large organization, like the government, there are steps you can take to accomplish it.

  1. Sort out what are the five most important things you want to see change.
  2. Spend some time with the five and then pick one that seems doable.
  3. Seek guidance about how to go about it either from within or from outside.
  4. Take the steps to accomplish it.

 Granted the above is simplistic, but it is a way to start, which might be your biggest challenge. It is taking the first step that often stops us for fear of what it might take or what might be the consequences of our action. But until you take the first step, nothing will happen.

 Just like the proverbial snowflake, every thing, every moment, and every person is unlike any other. And in this moment nothing is exactly the same as it was in the last. Granted the change may be so subtle, so minute that it is not noticeable, but it happened non-the-less. Since change is constantly occurring and you are the creator of changes in your life, for the most part, then you can create the change you want to see by stepping into this new whatever and living it.

 The only way to get what you want, whether it is a change, in your own life, or someone else's is to be that change. You cannot change some else's life; you can only demonstrate, by example, what you would like to see them do. If we could only nail this way of producing change, our world would be a different place. Many of you reading this may disagree, but the evidence about this kind of action is irrefutable.

 What choice will you make? Will you take a step in the direction of the change you want to see? Or will you continue to complain and whine about a world you want to see changed, but cannot change. The first choice above is proactive. The second is pro-lazy.


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