Inspired by Ghandi . . .
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
August 20, 2019 - Indianapolis Rotary Club
You may have heard or seen this bumper sticker feel-good quote a million times. You may know that it is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. A little research shows that he may have truly said:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”
Not a contradiction, but no longer a bumper sticker. Perhaps the idea for the phrase came after his actions - almost like a surprise - he may have been summarizing his experience not inspiring change. The results of an experiment summarized to a conclusion; not advice really.
Here are the experiments I have conducted for the past few years in the spirit of Gandhi
- Tip fast food workers - don’t wait for minimum wage to help them
- Pick up some trash every day - not your trash - trash in the McDonald’s or Walmart parking lot (I find it more interesting!) - don’t wait for the trash collector
- Drive like you are a driver’s education coach - don’t reserve hand gestures for bad moves - say thank you and wave to drivers who exhibit courtesy and skill
- Smile at everybody. A smile truly is contagious - and while it may make them wonder what you are thinking, it may just may them believe for a second that the world is a more friendly and caring place.
The evidence that I am changing the world may be weak but I believe that I’ve undoubtedly improved a few very small corners of it. I always get a delightful smile of surprise when I hand a counter worker a tip, the parking lot has a few fewer pieces of trash for a moment, my drive to work is a little happier and I see a lot more smiles everywhere I go.
The results of my experiments are the same as Gandhi’s: We need not wait to see what others do before we act to make a better world.