Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
- Leo Tolstoy
I’ve written before about why I don’t watch the news, political or otherwise. I do get some news – I check the local news to make sure there’s not a road closing near me or a new farmers’ market I should be aware of. I include myself in the large pool of people who dream of change throughout the world – ending American wars! fixing Wall Street! ensuring equality for women throughout the developing world! ending poverty! etc. I’d love to see these things happen, but the simple fact is that it’s unlikely that my individual efforts would affect ALL of these things. With concentrated effort and a lifelong focus, I could affect one of these things, perhaps. But I, like so many others, focus on changing the world (to little effect) and miss focusing on changing ourselves (at great affect).
I’ll suggest that there is no greater first step to changing the world than changing yourself. Make yourself better and you’ll be better able to serve the world. Get more fit – live longer. Get richer – be able to give more. Get smarter – provide more help. It’s easy to see that self-improvement is the first step to take in serving others.
This post is as much a reminder for myself as it is any sort of advice for others. Remember, with me, that improving ourselves is the first step in improving the world, as Tolstoy pointed out.