Oscar Wilde once said, “Too much sanity may be madness, but the greatest madness of all is to see the world as it is…not as it should be.”
This quote has been a part of my life since high school, when a group of my friends and I saw it hanging in a classroom at a speech club competition. For years, it stuck with me and then “life happens” and I forgot about it.
That is, until a cartoon posted on FB asked, “What do you do for the world?” My mind began to look for the truth behind the question and I was renewed with the energy of my teenage years.
There is so much negativity in the world and, at times, it can all be very overwhelming, but when individuals make the decision to be happy and to live in a world with a unified consciousness, the fear of being alone in the dark is replaced with a wonderful sense of feeling at one with all of humanity.
With that being the case, I began to think about how ordinary people can change the world in which we live. Can just one person actually change the world? I believe they can and do every single day.
Whenever someone talks about universal consciousness or something along those lines, I know a lot of people’s eyes begin to glaze over. It’s not for everyone when worded that way, so I’ll simplify it.
Don’t you WANT to live in a world where YOU can make a difference and have an impact on people’s lives in a positive way?
Of course you do. Everyone does.
Artists of all types can change the world, if that truly is their goal.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams
“As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both.” – Bono
“You weren’t going to the theater to change the world, but you had a chance to affect the world, the thinking and the feelings of the world.” – James Earl Jones
While I have nothing but respect for James Earl Jones, I have to respectfully disagree with him. I understand the point he is making, but affecting the world—affecting the audience’s thinking and feelings—IS changing the world. It is only by understanding viewpoints that differ from our own that we will every make progress.
In this day and age, there are very few reasons not to make an impact on humanity.
“Because primarily of the power of the internet, people of modest means can band together and amass vast sums of money that can change the world for some public good if they all agree.” – Bill Clinton
“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa
Again, like James Earl Jones, I disagree with Mother Teresa and, by the way, am I going to be struck by lightning for saying that? Being someone who creates many ripples IS changing the world. It’s the first step of a long journey and, as we all know, the first step is usually the hardest one.
All these quotes are great and all, but how do we change the world? It truly is simple.
Pick a cause, any cause, which matters to you and put everything you have into it. There are people out there who you just hear their name and associate with a cause. Making the world green makes me think of my sister Cassie…Charity Water makes me think of my friend, Erica Hanna…ADHD Awareness makes me think of my sister Tina…food allergy awareness makes me think of Missy Berggren, who spoke at Ignite earlier this year.
You get the idea.
Pick something…anything…and go for it. Even if it’s “just” raising awareness, you are doing something important and amazing.
You know that blog post you’ve been meaning to write? What about that painting you were going to paint? Song you were going to write? The invention in your brain that will make everyone’s lives easier?
Do it. Make it. Create it. No more excuses.
Whether you are directly pointing out an issue that is important to you or not, you are making the world a better place because you are contributing. You are active and your activity may very well be the thing that sparks the creativity and ingenuity in someone else who, in a more grandiose way, may very well change the world forever.
It is all about perspective. All of these things listed are changing the world.
This all may still seem a bit overwhelming. I know it was to me for a little while. I wanted to do something important, I wanted to call others to action and I wanted to change the world, but wow, this is a lot to take in.
Then, it hit me. If sparking someone else’s creativity is my place and my calling, then there is one easy thing I can do and, at the very least, it’s something we all can do. It may be tough, but I believe we all can do it.
Are you ready for it?
Smile. Show those teeth to other human beings as you meet them out in the world. Say hello and smile.
This world can be very isolating at times and it is amazing how one smile or one kind word can absolutely make someone’s day.
Every once in a while, pick your head up out of your cell phone, look another person straight in the eye and smile at them.
I know it’s radical, but radical ideas have changed the world countless times already.