Make this world a better place. Make this industry a better place. Make your home a better place. A tall order? Impossible? Not at all.
You can do it—starting with you.
Many years ago, when I was living in Yreka, California, I saw problems in the town — problems that I felt the City Council should be looking at and trying to change. Some of them would be easy, some much harder. When I whined about this to one of my friends, she replied, “Well, it sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you.”
What incredible advice! It echoed the sentiment of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “You must be the change that you want to see in the world.” We spend so much time fretting, worrying and complaining about things we don’t like. Instead, we should do the one or two small things that we can to make a difference.
So I did. I ran, as one of 13 candidates in the next City Council election. A friend screen printed posters which we hung in local stores. I spoke at civic meetings. And I pushed a stroller, holding my two-year-old and four-year-old daughters, door to door as I talked with people in the community.
On election night, I went to my regular judo class, knowing that I had done all that I could and not really expecting to win. This was before cell phones so when I returned home, my husband said, “The mayor called. You won.”
My work was indeed cut out for me as I spent my term trying to change the things that needed changing — succeeding with some and not with others. But working towards my goals until we were transferred with the Forest Service to another town where I began again after living there for a few years — this time with the School Board.
I discovered that it’s not enough to say, “This needs to be done.”
We have unlimited power to allow ourselves to create change in the way that we live. Each of us has unique skills, good ideas, and wisdom based on knowledge and experience. It’s up to us to use them to make a difference.
None of us know the future. Life has taught us how quickly our lives and those around us can change. The past is gone. Living with regrets, or worse—living with grudges, resentments or hatred over past events only causes us to suffer. Those around us probably don’t even know about them or care.
When Cherie Reagor announced that she was ceasing publication of Rave Reviews, the magazine those of us in the industry had come to depend on, we were all whining on the forums until someone threw down the gauntlet with the question “Joyce, what about you? You’re a writer. You’ve published a newspaper. And you know the industry. You could do it.”
I thought about it for a long while, then replied, “Why not?”
Once again, I had my work cut out for me. There have been ups and downs, pleasure and pain. But I chose the path that was “now” and, 12 years later, am still traveling down it towards the “future.” Who knows where it will lead, where it will detour, and where it will end up. But I saw something that needed doing, knew I had the skills to do it, and took the challenge.
Life leads us in directions that we never guessed. Circumstances affect us for good or bad. There is usually no choice about where we will go but we do get to choose our thoughts, our attitudes, and our decisions.
So choose wisely. When you see something that needs doing, changes that need to be made, and ways that you can help, forget the past and don’t worry about the future. Do it now.
You can create a better world, a better industry, a better company, a better family, a better you. The choice is yours.