It is often tempting to look at problems in the world and to blame governments, corporations, and wealthy elites. We blame the entities that we see as having the power to influence or decide whether good or bad things happen in society. They have power and are therefore responsible. Whereas we have little or no power and therefore, little or no responsibility. This seems logical, but this logic is behind of much of the apathy that prevents us from creating progress in the world. The reality is that we have a lot more power than we think we do and that all change starts within our individual minds.
Nothing in the universe happens in isolation and governments, corporations, and elites cannot function without our participation. Everything that humans do in the world is the sum of our individual actions. We are therefore all responsible for our contribution to the whole. We contribute through our work, through our purchasing decisions, through our words, through our behaviour to others, through our votes, through our creation of alternatives, and through our failure to create alternatives.
If we want to change the world, then we must begin by creating a better vision of the world in our heads and living our lives in pursuit of that better vision. It must begin by thinking for ourselves. When we let society, family, friends, colleagues, religion, and the media dictate our ideas, beliefs, and behaviours, we are not thinking for ourselves and are therefore, not being ourselves. We sacrifice our own identity and cease to exist as true individuals. Our society becomes repetitive and stagnates because it is comprised of people who are not questioning or thinking freely and are not utilizing their own power of creative thinking. We have a society of people who are simply going through the motions.
There is no end point to human potential or progress, but we reach an end point when we choose to accept the status quo either because we are afraid to challenge it or because we believe that it is simply good enough. We must recognize that progress is change and that change is different. We must therefore free ourselves to think differently, act differently, and be different if we are to progress as individuals. When we do so our collective progress will mean the progress of society as a whole. The power to create a better world lies with all of us. We cannot outsource it to governments and corporations who are themselves, after all, just groups of individual people.
When we look within ourselves, question everything, and listen honestly, we become our true selves. We become better people. We become happier. We each become one of many seeds from which a better world can grow. Behaviour is infectious and the most infectious behaviour becomes ingrained as what we call culture, but culture is a template that allows us to live our lives without thinking and assumes that people in the past had already discovered the best ways to live. When we free our minds from the confines of culture and trust our own inner conscience on how to live, we create friction in society. This friction is not always comfortable, but it is what creates movement, change, and progress as our new different behaviour influences others.
As individuals we might feel that we can’t change anything and that we are each just a drop in the ocean, but each person’s positive changes have a ripple effect that extends far beyond their own lives even when the ripples are not visible. If we wish for a better world, we must start by liberating our own minds, listening to our inner thoughts openly without judgement, trusting our conscience and accepting that our own ideas will also keep changing. When we do this we will naturally discover new ideas, better ideas, and more clearly evaluate old ideas. With a free mind our thoughts will progress, our behaviour will progress, and our own progress will ripple through society.
We must create positive change in the world and it all starts within ourselves. Next time you think that your individual actions don’t make any difference, remind yourself that they are the only things that do make any difference.