Let him that would move the world first move himself. – Socrates
What does that mean?
I considered the word “move” to be the equivalent of “change.” Someone who has a degree in Ancient Greek Language and Literature can feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Also note that the Ancient Greeks were not as gender-neutral as we are today. Anyone getting miffed at the seemingly male-centric references in this quote probably has larger issues to deal with.
To me, this is advising anyone who would want to change the world should start the change within themselves. OK, but what does that mean? Most people who want to change the world seem to want the world to be changed in a way that is convenient to them. Socrates implores us to change ourselves first, to be a better person. After that, we can help to change the world by being a leader (by example), not the boss.
Why is leadership important?
There are a handful of people who would qualify as self starters, most of the rest of us need a leader. The leader is the snowflake that starts the ball rolling, that starts the avalanche. Most of the conquers were efficient leaders. Not all of them led by glowing example, although I imagine there would be some Huns that might argue Attila was the pinnacle of Hun-ish-ness (that can’t be a word, can it?), and a most excellent example of how to properly live your life. Others might include Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin. Some of those names are revered, and others are reviled, but they were all leaders.
On the other side of the coin, we have the peaceful leaders. People like Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Mother Theresa. These people were also leaders, but did so without the violence the first group was known for. Each of these people achieved significant change, even to the point of revolution, without having to resort to violence.
While some of the leaders listed above lead from the front, not all of them did. This is what I liken to being a leader (by example) versus being a boss. Both can get things done, but one has a bit more integrity than the other, in my opinion. Especially when violence is being done, one should lead from the front.
So we have an idea what a leader is and does, but why is it important to have leaders? To me, the most important reason to have a leader is to give focus to the energy that is in their people and direct it in a useful manner. That is where the ethics and integrity comes in. Is the leader working primarily for their own advancement and gain, or are they working mostly for the gain of their people?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Unless there is a cause you care enough to change your entire life for, and have access to world-wide media, you will probably have to start locally. Very locally. Internally, even!
Take a moment and dream a dream. What three things would you want to see happen that would make the world a better place? I’ll wait. Really, take a moment and come up with three ideas, how ever wild or far-out they might be.
Now that you have three big dreams, take a moment to think about what kind of a person you would have to be in order to be the leader that helped achieve each of the dreams. What qualities would it take? What direction would your moral compass need to point? What kind of things would you have to believe in order to naturally act that way? In short, how would you have to change to become the person who can help change the world?
Let’s take a look at the different changes that would be required of you, if you were to move the world. Are there any that are common between the different dreams? Which are the most in line with the things you personally want to change within yourself? Choose two of the most interesting changes – not the easiest two, but the ones you think will be the most fun and give the biggest benefit to you.
Some of these changes might be massive. For me, all of them start with “become a people-person” – it’s kind of in the job description of world changing leader, right? For someone who scores a perfect introvert on the Myers Briggs Personality Types, that’s a big step. For someone who’s change is to loose 100 pounds, so that they can have the energy to motivate a large crowd, that’s a big step. So let’s break it down. On the journey of each of the changes, how much change can you make in a year? How much can you make in a decade? Break big changes into a series of smaller ones.
Smaller steps can be easier to approach (not as intimidating – try saying loose 1 pound a week for two years instead of saying loose 100 pounds). They also give you more milestones to celebrate, many little victories on the way to your final goal. Also, if things go badly for a week or two (perhaps at the holidays), you can get right back to loosing a pound a week from where ever the “oops” left you.
Remember, the whole point of this was to see what you needed to do to become someone who could change the world. If you’re up for it, get busy. Most of us aren’t quite that ambitious. For the rest of us, let’s focus on changing ourselves towards that goal.
Now that we are in the process of changing ourselves, what can we do to change the world? As an individual, all alone, probably not much. However, if we can find like-minded individuals, we can try to work together towards a common goal. You may find a group already in place, or you might have to start your own. Do you need to be the Chairman of the group to be a leader? No. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find most of you know of several “figure-heads” – people who are officially in charge, but either listen to a real leader, or delegate to a real leader.
As you continue your changes, continue to seek out like-minded individuals and keep building the momentum of change. Be prepared for bumps in the road, as not everyone is as ethical as you are. Also, although you may all be travelling in the same basic direction, not everyone has exactly the same destination as you do. There will also be differences of opinion over the proper route to take to get from where you are now to where the next step is, even if you agree on what the next stepping stone is.
From: Twitter, undocumented feed (my bad)
confirmed at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/socrates110067.html
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