When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town.
I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family.
My family and I could have made an impact on our town.
Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
-unknown monk 1100A.D
Changing the world is more accessible to all of us today than ever before, but this does not mean the challenge is any easier than it was a thousand years ago. The most difficult person to change is often the one who is closest to us. In fact, changing our own minds can sometimes seem like an impossible feat.
That is why the idea of Human-Centered Learning is so important. We all need a safe context to learn, grow, change, and become the kind of people who can influence the world around us. Who you become is a much different kind of outcome than what you know. However, it is far more important for those who wish to see their lives make a real difference.
As Mahatma Gandhi said, to make a difference, you must:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
His appeal was not to power, it was not to governments, it was not to wealth; it was to a force far more powerful than these. Change begins in the human mind with the inception of an idea. The ones that you allow to take root and begin to grow there will shape the person that you become.
This leads to one final proverb attributed to various sources and well worth remembering: