Warning: this is a life-changing article!
Grab a drink and settle down for an article that will profoundly change your life.
Are you up for changing the world and doing what ever it takes to make it a better place?
Or are you fearful of your ability to change the world?
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
I am delighted to announce the launch today of my new book “Make It Happen” – you can download your copy from the box right away via this link.
Time to pop the champagne, which has been on ice for a while! Get your personal copy soon – whilst stocks last:-)
My brief guide to “Make it Happen” is all about how to live the life you want AND make the world a better place at the same time.
This book is aimed at those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world! So if just a few thousand people read this book, between us we can definitely change the world.
“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do”. – Steve Jobs
I believe that there is a growing worldwide movement of people who are focused on a better life for themselves AND others and are seeking a deeper meaning.
This book also sums up my own journey as for a long time I have struggled with the dichotomy of wanting to do good and also be “successful” in my own life. Over time, I have come to realise that the two do not need to be independent and one can have a great life as well make a contribution.
In fact, the happier and more content one is in their life, the greater the scope and desire to give something back to the world.
People want to live better, healthier and more fulfilling, balanced lives and be part of the solution to some of the big challenges we face today.
I shall be expanding further on some of the key points in my report in future posts but today I would like to expand on getting started on your journey of changing the world.
What makes us fearful of stepping up and making a difference in the world?
Do we believe we are not good enough or that whatever we do would be so insignificant that it would not matter?
1. Get Started
I believe that one of the biggest fears we have of changing the world is of facing ridicule and considered odd if we wish to make a difference. We often feel pressurised to engage in a conventional way of being and living and settling down to a “normal” life like the rest of our peers.
I remember whilst at college we were discussing our life goals. I told my friends that one day I would like to go to India and help out in some way by working with children. At the time, my friends laughed and said how everyone wanted to do the same but it was always just small talk.
It took me many years before I did get to fulfil my dream by getting involved with Nirvana School, but I do wish I had got involved with such projects much earlier on.
At the time, I remember feeling disillusioned and wondering if perhaps I should follow a “normal” life. And a “normal” career.
Since then, so often I never got started with my projects as I either felt overwhelmed with the scope of what I wanted to achieve or I wondered if I could really make a difference.
I now know that it is about being authentic and walking your talk. When you are being authentic and expressing yourself from the heart and not the head, the people around you will really get who you are and what you stand for.
Your self-belief will also grow when you are clear about what you stand for and what you believe in.
So as well as being authentic and walking your talk, think about the bigger picture – everything you do does matter in the big scheme of things. And embrace life, no matter what happens.
To get you started here are some inspirational words from George Bernard Shaw. I first heard these 9 years ago, around the time I started my journey of personal development and the profound meaning left a deep impression on me:-
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake.
Life is no ‘Brief Candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handling it on to future generations.”
2. Does the World Even Need Changing?!
A fundamental question to ask ourselves is whether the world even needs changing!
Do we negate ourselves and the world by making it wrong?
“When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.” – Joseph Campbell
One way of looking at it is to assume that the world is “perfect” as it is and then come from a place of creativity and positive possibilities. I find that it does free up a lot of energy when we just accept any situation as it is and then look to make it even better.
Maybe all the “challenges” we face today in the world are there to take us to a new level of living in peace, social justice and within the means and resources of our planet.
Nobody owns the world, we are all mere threads of rope in a web – and it is up to each one of us to decide and create just how the world shows up for us.
What creative and innovative ways of living and giving can you explore and develop?
Remember – service to others is the ultimate buzz.
3. Let your Light Shine
Are we really not good enough?
Or would whatever we do be so insignificant that it would not matter?
Let us clear up those myths right away with these powerful words from Marianne Williamson:-
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be so brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of the universe…
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure around you,
We are all meant to shine, as children do,
We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our fears, our presence automatically liberates each other.
So stop playing small! If not now, when?
How will YOU begin to let YOUR light shine from today?
It really is time to let your light shine.
4. Make a Difference to one Starfish at a Time
There is this famous anecdotal starfish story by Loren Eiseley about a wise man who comes across a young man on a beach, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.
When he asked what he was doing, the young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It sure made a difference for that one.”
This story has been told in various forms, with the characters changed, but in any form it is a beautiful story and one that makes you realise that no matter how small or big, we can all make a difference in our own way.
You see, no matter how small or big, whatever YOU do for the world will matter.
Just ask yourself – what “starfish” can I make a difference to?
It can be as simple as picking up some litter from outside your front door to campaigning for the rain forests on your local high street. Or of course you can go and volunteer at this great little charity school in India🙂
Believe that what you do matters, and that it will make a difference.
You can’t save the whole world single-handedly, and we can’t all be a Gandhi or a Mandela, but you can certainly make a difference to one person at a time. So look for ways to contribute.
Ask yourself what special skill or knowledge you have, that can solve a problem or make the best of a situation and that will help or support others.
And actually, maybe we CAN all be a Gandhi, a Mandela or a Mother Teresa!
Start small – and get started no matter what. They too started small one day at the beginning of their life journeys.
So fear not – you already have and know enough – new skills will come for sure as you progress on your journey. And whatever you choose to do, it will make a difference.
5. Find Like-Minded People
Another fear that may stop you from changing the world is a feeling of being overwhelmed and having to do it on your own. But once you are clear about your path and you are authentic about it, you will never be alone.
It is all about collaboration and finding like minded people. Also, with the advent of social media, you can easily find people with similar aspirations and aims as you.
There are today literally millions of groups of all kinds focused on making a difference in some way, ranging from the big international NGOs and charities to small bands of people just working away in their own little corner of the world.
If there isn’t a group that resonates with you, then start your own.
Think different to make it happen.
Form an army of followers equally supportive and dedicated to the cause.
Create a following – inspire and change one person at a time. Get them to join your tribe. Then it really just multiplies.
6. Get Inspired by your Heroes
What better inspiration than to follow the path of those who have gone before us and shown us the way to get beyond your fears?
To get inspired by historic figures, check out lessons in life and leadership from one of my heroes, a mere 91 year old man 🙂
And also check out the legacy of Gandhi for the generations to come.
In the same way that one man, Nelson Mandela, took a stand in South Africa for the end of apartheid and a peaceful transition, we all need to do our bit and take a stand for what we all intuitively know to be the truth and the right thing to do.
To remind you of just what Mr Mandela believes to be one of our biggest challenges, here is what he said at the beginning of 2007:-
“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.
Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times – times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation – that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.
Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.
And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.
While poverty persists, there is no true freedom”
Also, your hero doesn’t just have to be a famous historic figure – it could be someone in your life such as a friend, a teacher or your mother or your father – learn from them whatever feels inspirational for you.
7. Create your Road Map for Change and Keep Going
The world will not change overnight – it is a generational change that will happen one person at a time.
No matter how you choose to change the world, it does count and there are no obstacles that you can’t jump over.
You too can be a great and outstanding leader and change maker. List your top 5 leadership role models and the top 5 qualities you like in them.
Now the fun part – find those exact same characteristics in your own life. I am sure you will find them, or at least ways to exhibit them.
You can indeed become a great leader, inspiring and enthusing your team, friends, family and colleagues about your cause. Just find your authentic voice and a cause that truly resonates with you.
Keep going, no matter what the odds are and how lonely the road.
As Gandhi said, if no one walks with you, walk alone on the lonely road.
Create your road map, a plan for how you WILL change the world. Be courageous, be yourself and be clear on the change you want to make.
Create a big vision for your life and the world – if you are going to change the world, why not do it in a big way?
Finally, DO feel the fear – after all, without it you will not go beyond your comfort zone.
No one said it would be easy – and if our ancestors had remained in their comfort zones, then we would still be living in caves. The world today is the legacy from our forefathers – it is up to us to ensure that the legacy WE leave for the generations to come is worthwhile.
And most importantly as you change the world, make it fun and joyous.
Otherwise why would you do it!?
Hey, what a wonderful posts. I recognise some of the insights which I truly find close to me.
Also love the simplicty of the blog. we did a redesign over at http://www.insidermusicbusiness.com/blog so times are fun in blogging right now.
looking forward to more posts related to the last point, I’d like to hear your thoughts.
I love reading your stuff. This uplifted my day. Such simple ideas and actions, but not really simple…complex and hard to live out.
Spot on my friend! Great the way you’ve used inspiring stories to provide added strength. Simple and deep lessons/ideas that help to re-connect. To ourselves and to others.
@Mel Pledger –
Thanks Mel for your kind feedback.
Great to see you on the road to finding the “real you” – the world needs YOU:-)
As I say in my ebook “Make It Happen”, the world needs more people connected with their passion!
Arvind, I love the way you connect passion and social action. Beautiful!
Of course passion and making a difference are intimately connected–but so many of us grew up thinking of ‘being good’ and ‘being passionate’ as two different things. You put it back together the way it’s spozed to be.
Thanks, and I look forward to reading more…
Thanks Kye – those are great words of encouragement coming from someone as talented and grounded as you.
There is a lot more to come…:-)
such wonderful comments for this post! Arvind, where do you find such meaningful topics to write on. I always feel humbled by your writing.
and isn’t it funny that these always come at the perfect time for me…
thank you my friend- looking forward to more!
Thanks Tania – I get inspiration from all the many gerat people in my life and also from lessons learnt from my mentors as well as historical figures.
If it is good enough for Gandhi or Dr King it is good enough for me!
Wow, Arvind! I just found your blog via your case-study at A-List Blogging Camp. I started reading this post, and had to stop after #2 above, which has blown the top of my head open, I think 🙂 What a fundamental shift in the way I’ve always looked at the world, and feeling the need to “save” it. No wonder I’ve been overwhelmed!
I am going to sit with these thoughts awhile, and then come back to read the rest of the post. (Come to think of it, if the rest of the post hits me as hard, it may take me awhile to get through it all!)
Thanks for the paradigm shift, and I’m excited to be a new subscriber!
Welcome to my world, Sherrill!
I hope that by now you have been able to move beyond point 2 above.
Maybe the world is already perfect and all we have to do is to accept it and take us and others to a new level – through a process of co-creating rather than fixing.
Please do keep us all posted with your progress since your paradigm shift. Thanks.
This was a great read.
Hi Arvind. I’ve been following your blogs closely. And in each of your blogs there is a sense of spirituality, and service towards others serving as an essence of your blog. I simply love the information you put in your blogs making it so easy to understand the simple values of life. I’ve started my journey on similar lines, wish to continue doing good. Would appreciate any guidance from you. Keep writing.
Thanks Priyal for your kind words and for following my blog.
I have checked out your fledgling blog and what I would say is that if you intend to take up blogging seriously then consider WordPress rathe than Blogger. Then in due course (or even now) you could get your own hosting and special domain name.
I wish you the best of luck with your journey.
YES!! Thank you for what you’re doing in the world! I’m right with you…let’s do this!! 🙂
The passion in your writing is palpable. How on target you are about feeling the fear….that it is a sign that we’re out of our comfort zone.
I agree that everyone has the ability to make an impact on the world. Some quiet souls ‘hold the energy’ for others. Just their presence creates change.
Great inspirational thoughts and ideas Arvind. You are a beacon of light.
Thanks for a great read!! I love how these ideas open me up to being bigger than before. I also loved the starfish story, because it is as you say – it does matter to that one starfish. One tiny starfish at a time – here I go! 🙂
Supriya, welcome to my blog!
And yes, one tiny starfish at a time:-)
What a great post.
It reminded me when I was in may late teens and I was studying for a biology degree. At that time I was gripped by stammering and didn’t talk much and lacked confidence. I was out for a drink with these two guys who I had met recently. There asked me what I was learning in my course and the only thing I could think of to say was about how flowers grew, as one of the modules covered this.
These guys started laughing at what I said. Only as I got a bit older did I realise these guys were insecure losers and I was aiming for better things.
HIten, thanks for sharing your flowers story!
Yes, best to aim for better things and not to be put off by people laughing at you. Great o see how far you have come since then.
Keep it up Hiten:-)