Trudeau thought he could change the world. When Justin Trudeau was elected Canadian prime minister years ago, he became an instant international celebrity. The charismatic and photogenic politician made headlines for everything from his feminist views to his tattoos and past jobs — which include being a bungee-jumping coach.
Sounds like me. When I was young, I was convinced I would change the world. And I did. For few I met, I did change their world – completely. Some positively, some negatively.
Most days of my life, I merely explained ‘dots.’ Allow me to explain.
One day, a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. The professor handed out exams with the text facing down. Once handed out, he asked the students to turn the tests over. To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions – just a black dot in the center of the sheet of paper.
The professor, said, “Write what you see.”
With no exception, everyone defined the black dot. After all were read, the classroom silent, the professor started to explain:
“I’m not going to grade you. I wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focuses on the black dot.”
The moral is that the same happens in our lives. Excluding those with PTSD or health issues, our lives can be a piece of paper to observe and enjoy. For years, I chose to focus mostly on one particular thing, event or period. I neglected my gifts, forgot the reasons to celebrate, abandoned renewal, tossed away friendship. By focusing only on the dot, I failed to see how little those events are when compared to everything else. These polluted my mind, took our eyes off my true calling, and neglected my true blessings.
Want to change the world, be like Flintoff.
John Paul Flintoff worked to help protect the environment and prevent global warming. He realized he could make an immediate difference by reaching out to his neighbors. Every year, he offered extra tomato seeds to neighbors. Doing so, Flintoff changed his slice of the world. You could too.
Want to change the world? Pay it forward.
From giving someone a smile to holding a door open for someone, doing chores for others, volunteering at a charity, or buying lunch for a friend, it doesn’t take a lot to make another’s day.
Want to change the world, come alive.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. (Howard Thurman).” Be authentic. Be true to yourself and everyone else.
When I first heard the following story, I didn’t feel like I changed anything. I was earning a paycheck, merely surviving. However, while consulting at a hospital on the west coast, I saw a senior woman sitting alone in the cafeteria at the same time each day.
One day, sipping coffee, I asked if she would like company.
“I’ve seen you every day for the past several weeks. Do you work or volunteer here?“
“Heavens, no.” she chuckled. “I am visiting my husband.“
“Oh, I’m sorry” I replied.
“No need,” she replied while raising a cup of tea to her lips. “My husband doesn’t remember me anymore.“
“Hmm,” I nodded sympathetically.
Straightening up, “My kids say, I shouldn’t make too many trips. Since he has Alzheimer’s and is declining.” Blowing softly across the cup, she pierced me with cat-like laser eyes, “But I remember him. So, I make the trip.“
Enlightenment! She changed my world.
Go change the world, even if it is only one person at a time. The power comes from love.