I find that almost every person I meet has this deep, strong drive to change the world. It’s in our nature to want to improve our surroundings and it’s in our nurture to want to leave our mark on things in a meaningful way.
This being said, changing the world is not easy. Many people find themselves spending their days in meaningless tasks which give them little opportunity to have a real impact on the world. This is one of the main reasons why they feel frustrated.
If you want to really change the world, you will need to leave aside the common wisdom most people follow and to go on a smarter, saner path. My work as a coach led me to believe there are four fundamental ingredients to change the world big time. In this article, I’m going to share them with you.
1. Lead by Example
One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi is this: “You must become the change you want to see in the world”. How true! It is essential to practice what you preach if you want to have a real impact. If you preach healthy living, then live healthy. If you preach being sociable and outgoing, then be sociable and outgoing.
Not practicing what you preach is the best way to lose credibility and to diminish the impact of your message. People tend to think that if you don’t follow your own advice, either it’s too hard to follow or you don’t really believe in it. So why should they?
If on the other hand, you practice what you preach, not only that you gain credibility, but you show people how to apply what you preach and what benefits it provides. This is crucial because there is nothing as persuasive as a real model of following a certain way and benefiting from it.
2. Have a Compelling Message
I think a lot of people don’t have an impact on things because they have nothing clear they stand for. They know they want to change things, but they don’t know why, how and most importantly, in what direction.
If you want to change the world, you need to get very clear on this: What do you stand for?
Of course, this is not a question you best answer just like that. Take some time to read, experience, experiment, reflect on different things and find that key thing you believe will make the world a better place.
When you have one thing you find meaningful and worth standing for, you can develop a powerful and compelling message around it. Then, focus on getting that message out there as much as possible, in the best ways possible. This leads me to my next point…
3. Make Yourself Visible
If you want to feel you impact things on a large scale, talking with your friends and convincing one of them to quit smoking or something like that won’t cut it. Large scale impact implies large scale communication and getting your message out there to thousands of people, sometimes even more.
In order to do this, it is required to make yourself and your message highly visible. You want to get out there, to get your message out there, to interact with many people and with the right people. There are many ways to do so, of which I often recommend four:
- Blogging and using social media sites;
- Publishing one or more books;
- Public speaking;
- Business networking;
- Appearing in the traditional media.
You will find that each one of these methods has its pros and cons. Depending on your specific goals and strengths, some of them will work better for you than others.
4. Paint Suggestive Pictures
One question I’m fascinated about is this: How do you generate emotions using words? There are a lot of answers to this question, but there is one answer which, in my view, takes the cake: painting suggestive pictures.
Most people react emotionally with ease to something they can visualize. This is why whatever your message, you will have a powerful impact with it if you communicate it in a very visual way. Use lots of visual words, visual metaphors and analogies, which create a clear picture in people’s minds of what you’re talking about.
I often start sentences with: “Imagine that…” Then I’ll paint a specific picture that I know will get the response I’m looking for. It’s a great way to hook people and get them wanting to walk on the road you’re showing them.
Changing the world can be quite a challenge. For some reason, most people are resistant even to ideas and trends that will improve their lives. At the same time, in my experience, changing the world is a highly fulfilling endeavor and I think it’s definitely worth pursuing it.
Just keep in mind that changing yourself always comes before changing the world.
Image courtesy of MykReeve