Be The Change

Be The Change

It is easy to see problems in the world. Finding solutions to the problems can sometimes seem impossible. As individuals we can feel powerless to create the desired change. The Dalai Lama suggests “be the change you want to see in the world.”  Have you ever thought, “I am just one person. What difference can I make”? I believe we can make big changes in the world, by making small changes in ourselves. We all make an impact on those around us. In every moment of every day we have the opportunity to choose what type of affect we want to make. It all begins with thought. Being conscious of our thoughts allows us to choose what kind of affect we want to create.

Advancements within a species have been observed to spread almost instantaneously once they reach a critical mass. It only takes one individual to evolve an entire species. One renegade thinker can influence others, if he can show the benefit of the newly acquired behavior. This is the pattern of social trends. Trends seem to hit critical mass and become the norm only when there is an overall benefit for the species rather than merely an individual benefit. One of the most remarkable stories on the effect of social critical mass began in 1952 when scientists were studying Macaques monkeys on the Japanese island of Kushima.

To better observe the monkeys, scientist used sweet potatoes to lure them close. One young monkey had an evolutionary thought. She took her potato to the water and rinsed off the dirt before eating it. Pleased by the lack of grit and the pleasant added taste of sea salt, she continued to wash her potatoes. Other young monkeys quickly adopted the newly introduced behavior. The oldest monkeys were set in their ways and slow to change. Before long, ninety-nine monkeys were washing their potatoes before eating them. A strange thing happened next. Once the hundredth monkey adapted to the new behavior, the rest of the monkeys on the island immediately followed. The learned behavior alone was not a surprising natural phenomenon. How quickly it happened was surprising. What was truly amazing, was that soon all the monkeys of that entire species, even the ones on other islands were washing their food without ever seeing the behavior first hand. A critical mass of their species had evolved and the rest followed.

With a population of 10,000 monkeys, one hundred is exactly one percent. The human population is approximately seven billion. One percent of the seven billion people on Earth is 70,000,000 people. By those calculations, if every person in California, New York, and Florida  (the three states I lived in longest) evolved to think with the compassion of their hearts instead of with the fear of their ego based minds, the entire planet would join in a quantum leap of human evolution. For now, we are dispersed in small, but growing clusters all over the globe, planting seeds of change wherever we go.

YOU can make a difference. It really is very simple; be conscious of the choices you make, consider the full affect of your choices, good and bad, and accept responsibility for them. Choice begins with thought, then requires action. Action without thought is aimless and thought without action is indecision. Thoughtful action is the result of conscious choice. You can make a difference in the world by paying attention to your thoughts, words, and actions and how they make you feel. Being aware of your own behavior will help you to be the change that you want to see in the world.