So to round off my thoughts from my last two posts about personal growth, (Going for the W and Personal and Business Growth: what’s the difference?) I wanted to share a thought that I’ve struggled and continue to struggle with, which can be applicable to anyone in any situation: “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
We’re all probably very familiar with this quote by Mahatma Ghandi, and my first introduction to this quote was back in my latter years of high school. I remember my confusion with the meaning behind it and thinking like any teenager, “well…duh! I knew that the WHOLE time,” eye-roll included. FYI: Lesser know familiarity is that teenagers don’t know as much as they let on; sorry, kids! I also remember that my first conclusion was that the change you did want to see in the world had to come from you by going to the situation and changing it, completely external from yourself. Or, my interpretation was if I saw someone performing a task incorrectly I had the responsibility to rectify their behavior. It was always something else causing the problem.
It was always something else…
Now, through my experiences and some incredible mentors I now understand what Ghandi was trying to say. It goes back to another (almost) equally famous phrase: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. I’m relating this back to someone being the change they wish to see in the world because if you’re in a problematic situation, one should look internally at what they can do differently to alleviate the problem based on their past behavior before looking at the external situation for the problem. Now my teenager-self would just roll their eyes at me and be like, “OMG, whatever!” And I’m sure there’s plenty of other non-teenagers who would do the same, including your team, organization, or company that you’re working with. Despite the inevitable resistance you’ll receive from others when discussing behavior changes they need to make for themselves, prove them wrong by practicing this new mindset.
My change in behavior…is being amplified into my environment.
Even just within the brief time since my epiphany, my adjustment in focus to look internally for the changes I want to see in my environment has been extremely rewarding; I’m finding environments and people that are nurturing, strong, and interdependent with some beautifully organic concepts that I know will make this world a better place. My change in behavior to look at myself internally to make necessary positive developments is being amplified into my environment. I’m being guided away from the traditional, hierarchical, self-entitled, and authoritative “groupthink” stereotype that plagues manufacturing into a transformative, innovative, open-minded, and communal industry that I hope will quickly replace the old-school production mindset that America has come to expect. But, to change the whole you have to start with the self.
Special thanks to some incredible mentors who have helped teach me the tough lessons about self-awareness and –improvement; I hope to keep having you as the voices in my head when I’m being “me” to help me become a better “me.” To my parents, Dedee, Dr. Al Evans, and Dr. Bret Simmons: thank you! Tell me about someone who demonstrates and practices the Ghandi quote on a day-to-day basis; how have they influenced you to practice the same?
Photo credit: http://areyoufrank.com/15-IT-change-tips-2015