in The Inconvenience of Change

The World is Interconnected: The Importance of Social Change [Akhila Kolisetty]

Will work for (social) change

We all want to change for the better

Change: it’s something we all want to embrace, but something we tend to shy away from. We all want to change for the better. We read articles about personal development, read self-help books, and try to replace bad habits with goods. We try to make ourselves look slimmer, write better, sound smarter. We all know our flaws and want to overcome them – but why is it so hard to actually make that leap into becoming the person we want to be?

Change is difficult, and it’s cumbersome. When it comes down to it, we are creatures of habit, and we’re driven by our past responses; it’s incredibly hard to change our behavior when we’ve been operating a certain way our whole lives. Social change is the same way. Most of us are not naturally altruistic people: we want to take care of ourselves first, and our close loved ones, before we can think of helping all those other abstract people out there. We’re taught self-preservation rather than altruism. Our ancestors, the hunter-gatherers, had to fend for themselves by killing enemies and taking what they needed to survive. This spirit, this legacy of self-preservation has become a habit, ingrained into us over the years.

But beyond this: why is it so difficult to get some people to care? Why is it hard for us to begin doing simple things daily to go green? Why is it so difficult for more people to volunteer their time on weekends, or donate to a nonprofit? It’s incredibly difficult to make people change their behavior and focus on these types of causes.

Why should you change?

The root of this doesn’t lie in habit, though: it’s something more – lack of understanding of why social change is that necessary. If you were told you were going to die in a year unless you worked at a non-profit, you would join a non-profit as fast as you could. But the thing is: social change is that critical, that important. Not just for those living in poverty or lacking basic civil liberties. Not just for those being helped: but for those doing the helping – all of us.

Why is helping someone thousands of miles away so important? It’s because we are all truly, deeply interrelated. We can’t separate their poverty from our success. My success depends on the success of a farmer in India, or a small entrepreneur in Mali. By making the world better as a whole, I’m improving my own life. By improving the economies of developing countries, we here in the U.S. are finding more emerging markets to export to. By helping Somalia establish a stable government and helping Somalian fishermen, we are preventing piracy attacks on U.S. ships. By educating children in poor areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we are helping to reduce extremist Islamic ideology that recruits future terrorists. Helping others helps us. Good karma comes back to help you when you need it. This isn’t selfless altruism: it’s the virtue of selfishness.

You and me, we’re in this together now

Most of the world’s greatest leaders in the past have understood how interlinked we all are, and why we have to work towards change:

“I hope you choose to broaden, and not contract, your ambit of concern. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, although you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all of those who helped you get to where you are, although you do have that debt. It’s because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. And because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential – and become full-grown.” - Barack Obama

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Change cannot be ignored

Ultimately, the world is so deeply interconnected that we simply can’t ignore this fact. We all have to work towards social – and environmental change – if we are to save ourselves and leave a better world for our children. The problem is that most people don’t realize how necessary social change is. This lack of understanding about how critical social change is and how it affects us all – is one of the roots of why people are so reluctant to change. If we all realized how deeply improving the world and the lives of others’ improves our own lives and the lives of our children, we would all be taking more action to change the world.

Akhila Kolisetty AUTHOR BIO: Akhila Kolisetty is currently studying abroad at the London School of Economics. Passionate about writing, blogging, political science, entrepreneurship, and human rights, Akhila uses the web and her blog, Justice for All, to raise advocacy and spread awareness. The thing I love most about Akhila’s style is her ability to related ‘complicated’ political and social issues to the everyday reader. By the time you finish reading one of her articles, your equipped to stop thinking and start doing – the mark of a truly great writer and a great human being.

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36 Comments

  1. The following quote was really my primary take away from this piece, “By making the world better as a whole, I’m improving my own life.”

    For me it goes back to the Zig Ziglar quote that we can have anything we want in this life as long as we help others achieve what they want. That bodes true for social change, non-profit ventures, and marketing too.

    I think slowly, we’re getting on the right track. A lot of major universities have non-profit management degrees (don’t they?) and courses, etc.

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this entire inconvenience of change discussion. There’s a lot of overlapped, reinforced, unique, delicious points. I say we bind them all up into an ebook and give ‘em away to anyone and everyone. Matt? Anyone?

    TGIF!

    Ryan

    • Ryan, thanks for the comment! Glad you liked that point – I really think that as the world is becoming more and more interrelated, we are seeing how important it is to get engaged in changing the world for the better. Yes, many universities have degrees in social entrepreneurship and non-profit management as well, and it’s great to see these things popping up.

      I love the idea – Matt we totally need to make some sort of ebook out of this!

    • Ryan – I think this post brings up a great point that you reiterated. For so many of us, we want to change, we crave to inspire others, but deep down, we’re not sure why. When I started this series, I wasn’t sure where it would go, how it would be received, if we would be beating a dead horse, etc. But with each post, another layer has been peeled back, and what it’s revealed is that one person can accomplish a lot – maybe I can attribute the response to giving away free books, but I think I’ve been able to stir something inside of a lot of people – people are starting to think and look within themselves. Hopefully, there is something here that everyone can take away and apply to their own lives – and my hope is that I’ve improved some of your lives by presenting this series over the past month. If I’ve reached one of you and made you think in a new way, my job is done, and ‘my life is improved.’

      As for the ebook – you read my mind! I am working on getting something (awesome) put together. Once all is said and done and the dust has settled, I’ll be able to present this series in a whole new light – more details to come in the near future.

  2. The following quote was really my primary take away from this piece, “By making the world better as a whole, I’m improving my own life.”

    For me it goes back to the Zig Ziglar quote that we can have anything we want in this life as long as we help others achieve what they want. That bodes true for social change, non-profit ventures, and marketing too.

    I think slowly, we’re getting on the right track. A lot of major universities have non-profit management degrees (don’t they?) and courses, etc.

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this entire inconvenience of change discussion. There’s a lot of overlapped, reinforced, unique, delicious points. I say we bind them all up into an ebook and give ‘em away to anyone and everyone. Matt? Anyone?

    TGIF!

    Ryan

    • Ryan, thanks for the comment! Glad you liked that point – I really think that as the world is becoming more and more interrelated, we are seeing how important it is to get engaged in changing the world for the better. Yes, many universities have degrees in social entrepreneurship and non-profit management as well, and it’s great to see these things popping up.

      I love the idea – Matt we totally need to make some sort of ebook out of this!

    • Ryan – I think this post brings up a great point that you reiterated. For so many of us, we want to change, we crave to inspire others, but deep down, we’re not sure why. When I started this series, I wasn’t sure where it would go, how it would be received, if we would be beating a dead horse, etc. But with each post, another layer has been peeled back, and what it’s revealed is that one person can accomplish a lot – maybe I can attribute the response to giving away free books, but I think I’ve been able to stir something inside of a lot of people – people are starting to think and look within themselves. Hopefully, there is something here that everyone can take away and apply to their own lives – and my hope is that I’ve improved some of your lives by presenting this series over the past month. If I’ve reached one of you and made you think in a new way, my job is done, and ‘my life is improved.’

      As for the ebook – you read my mind! I am working on getting something (awesome) put together. Once all is said and done and the dust has settled, I’ll be able to present this series in a whole new light – more details to come in the near future.

  3. Akhila – I agree with Ryan, that line really hit home, and this is a remarkable post. Like I said to you before, you’re an incredible person already making a huge difference — I think everyone really is making a difference in their own way.

    From my own experience, I think we all want to change the world or do our part to help it in whatever way we can, only so many of us don’t necessarily know how, what that way is, so we work on changing ourselves instead. I wonder if it’s not a lack of caring but a lack of knowledge, maybe even opportunity. You can offer donations — and so many people do — you can volunteer, but, like your latest blog post kind of hints at, sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it, you wonder if it’s enough. And you want to be more hands on, but you begin to question if your efforts are worth it and wonder how you can really help someone thousands of miles away from your little corner of the world.

    Does it begin at home, with you? Maybe it does, maybe that’s a key part of social change, as you so beautifully expressed. We’re all interconnected so maybe even the small things make a big difference. And maybe we change ourselves so that we can change the world — do unto others, passing along that goodwill, becoming more actively engaged…

    A great post, Akhila, that has really gotten me thinking and, most importantly, inspired.

    • Susan, thanks for all your support and the insightful comments! I appreciate it.

      What you said is so true, and perhaps something I didn’t touch on in this post as much as I should have. A lot of people do want to help or change the world, but at the same time it seems so overwhelming – it seems like you have to donate a ton of money or suddenly give up your entire life to go and volunteer, if you are to actually make a difference. It seems almost too daunting and the problems too vast to solve.

      But because of the fact that we are SO interrelated, it’s not really important to try to make that huge grand gesture of changing the world. It’s important just to be the change you want to be, and every small thing you do to change yourself or be better, or help in some small way, makes an impact.

      Sometimes it’s hard to see the results. But I guess that’s where you have to have the hope, optimism, and faith, that just by doing whatever small things you can, you ARE making an impact and a difference.

      • Akhila – Your last line sums it up – you have to have HOPE, OPTIMISM, and FAITH that you ARE making an impact. Some of this is intangible (a lot of it is). If you donate money to a cause, you probably will never witness the direct impact it’s had, and you more than likely will hardly get any recognition. But it’s the things we do when no one is looking that REALLY makes us who we are. Those are the moments that define us. Maintaining a positive state of mind is crucial to bringing about positive change in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.

  4. Akhila – I agree with Ryan, that line really hit home, and this is a remarkable post. Like I said to you before, you’re an incredible person already making a huge difference — I think everyone really is making a difference in their own way.

    From my own experience, I think we all want to change the world or do our part to help it in whatever way we can, only so many of us don’t necessarily know how, what that way is, so we work on changing ourselves instead. I wonder if it’s not a lack of caring but a lack of knowledge, maybe even opportunity. You can offer donations — and so many people do — you can volunteer, but, like your latest blog post kind of hints at, sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it, you wonder if it’s enough. And you want to be more hands on, but you begin to question if your efforts are worth it and wonder how you can really help someone thousands of miles away from your little corner of the world.

    Does it begin at home, with you? Maybe it does, maybe that’s a key part of social change, as you so beautifully expressed. We’re all interconnected so maybe even the small things make a big difference. And maybe we change ourselves so that we can change the world — do unto others, passing along that goodwill, becoming more actively engaged…

    A great post, Akhila, that has really gotten me thinking and, most importantly, inspired.

    • Susan, thanks for all your support and the insightful comments! I appreciate it.

      What you said is so true, and perhaps something I didn’t touch on in this post as much as I should have. A lot of people do want to help or change the world, but at the same time it seems so overwhelming – it seems like you have to donate a ton of money or suddenly give up your entire life to go and volunteer, if you are to actually make a difference. It seems almost too daunting and the problems too vast to solve.

      But because of the fact that we are SO interrelated, it’s not really important to try to make that huge grand gesture of changing the world. It’s important just to be the change you want to be, and every small thing you do to change yourself or be better, or help in some small way, makes an impact.

      Sometimes it’s hard to see the results. But I guess that’s where you have to have the hope, optimism, and faith, that just by doing whatever small things you can, you ARE making an impact and a difference.

      • Akhila – Your last line sums it up – you have to have HOPE, OPTIMISM, and FAITH that you ARE making an impact. Some of this is intangible (a lot of it is). If you donate money to a cause, you probably will never witness the direct impact it’s had, and you more than likely will hardly get any recognition. But it’s the things we do when no one is looking that REALLY makes us who we are. Those are the moments that define us. Maintaining a positive state of mind is crucial to bringing about positive change in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.

  5. Akhila–Matt told me that I would like your post and he was absolutely right. You hit the nail right on the head about the virtue of selfishness in social justice and change. I work in the non-profit sector in human rights education and I’ve quickly learned that altruism is practically non-existent in this field because of (among other things)competing resources.

    I admit that my own need to help others by educating about human rights has very little to do with my altruism for those “less fortunate”. What’s less fortunate about having your rights violated in the most fundamental sense? This shouldn’t be a matter of fortunate or not–it’s a matter of universal rights that should be equally and fairly enforced (however imperfectly!). The fact that some of us don’t have our rights violated make us “more fortunate” in turn makes rights an arbitrary whim subjected to the forces of the socio-political winds of the time and that is dangerous, not to mention stupid.

    • Mandy I am so glad you liked this post! Thanks for reading! I’m really excited to see that you work in human rights education (because I’m personally interested in human rights issues) so it’s great to hear the perspective of a non-profit professional here. I completely agree with what you’re saying — thinking “those” people as the poor and marginalized simply sets up another barrier between us, the lucky ones, and “them” and makes us seem superior in some way…when really we are not at all. I love what you’re saying – that human rights are universal norms we all have the responsibility to enforce and ensure for all people. It’s a sense of duty and responsibility, rather than a sense of pity — which can be perhaps more dangerous. I’m saying all this but I’m still in the process of changing for the better, and trying to act on a sense of duty rather than pity. I’m not perfect in this at all but I get what you’re saying and am trying to work towards it.

      • Hey Akhila!

        Thanks for your kind words. It made me laugh to see myself referred to as a “professional” in my field when I often feel like the most ignorant boob on my team. I am truly fortunate to work with truly amazing professionals who are strongly dedicated to their causes (whether it be human rights, education or international development) and have taught me a lot about what it means to be compassionate. I’m one of the younger members of my team (I’m a mid twentysomething)and it’s a trip sometimes.

        As for duty over pity–I wouldn’t quite characterize it in those terms. I’d call it a civic action instead, sort of like an voluntary obligation to ensure rights for others to keep yours intact. A duty sort of implies that you have to do it even if you find it unpleasant and I’m hedonistic enough to admit that I really rather not do something out of duty but because I committed myself to the action. An obligation, freely taken, if you will. The distinction is quite nuanced but the idea of a “civic duty” clearly holds no weight with an awful lot of people since paying taxes can be considered a “civic duty” and we still complain about it. I don’t complain (well not seriously anyways) about having to pay my taxes since it goes towards supporting services I utilize but I do complain about how complicated it is to file the damn things.

        I call it civic action because I think civic duty is an obligation because you owe something to someone, namely governments. Civic action is you taking on responsibility for change or whatever because you’re a citizen, you live there and how you live and how others live impact you. Civic action is also inclusive of civil disobedience and all aspects of taking control of our lives.

        Human rights is one of those things that often get the NIMBY (not in my backyard) symptom. As long as the majority of people have rights, it’s really easy to let all the violations slide on by. But this is truly a slippery slope to dysfunctional government,which naturally concerns me. That’s what motivates me to care really…no altruistic reason.

        I’ll stop there. As you can tell, I’m very passionate about the subject (well, politics really) and can go on forever but I won’t.

        Cheers!

        • I knew you two would get along famously – I’m happy that I could provide the introduction here. Akhila, I’ll tell you that YOU are going to really enjoy Mandy’s post – which goes live tomorrow.

          The concept of social change and social justice is something that flees the minds of us twenty-somethings. I think that WE think that our impact is so minimal that we can’t really make a difference. The truth is that doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING, is better than nothing. Donating $1.00 is better than no dollars, etc. I’m a firm believer that no amount is too small – if everyone spent an hour volunteering, if everyone donated a dollar to a local charity, if everyone was even just a LITTLE bit generous, we would see some pretty incredible things happening. Thank you, both of you, for bringing these ideas to light.

  6. Akhila–Matt told me that I would like your post and he was absolutely right. You hit the nail right on the head about the virtue of selfishness in social justice and change. I work in the non-profit sector in human rights education and I’ve quickly learned that altruism is practically non-existent in this field because of (among other things)competing resources.

    I admit that my own need to help others by educating about human rights has very little to do with my altruism for those “less fortunate”. What’s less fortunate about having your rights violated in the most fundamental sense? This shouldn’t be a matter of fortunate or not–it’s a matter of universal rights that should be equally and fairly enforced (however imperfectly!). The fact that some of us don’t have our rights violated make us “more fortunate” in turn makes rights an arbitrary whim subjected to the forces of the socio-political winds of the time and that is dangerous, not to mention stupid.

    • Mandy I am so glad you liked this post! Thanks for reading! I’m really excited to see that you work in human rights education (because I’m personally interested in human rights issues) so it’s great to hear the perspective of a non-profit professional here. I completely agree with what you’re saying — thinking “those” people as the poor and marginalized simply sets up another barrier between us, the lucky ones, and “them” and makes us seem superior in some way…when really we are not at all. I love what you’re saying – that human rights are universal norms we all have the responsibility to enforce and ensure for all people. It’s a sense of duty and responsibility, rather than a sense of pity — which can be perhaps more dangerous. I’m saying all this but I’m still in the process of changing for the better, and trying to act on a sense of duty rather than pity. I’m not perfect in this at all but I get what you’re saying and am trying to work towards it.

      • Hey Akhila!

        Thanks for your kind words. It made me laugh to see myself referred to as a “professional” in my field when I often feel like the most ignorant boob on my team. I am truly fortunate to work with truly amazing professionals who are strongly dedicated to their causes (whether it be human rights, education or international development) and have taught me a lot about what it means to be compassionate. I’m one of the younger members of my team (I’m a mid twentysomething)and it’s a trip sometimes.

        As for duty over pity–I wouldn’t quite characterize it in those terms. I’d call it a civic action instead, sort of like an voluntary obligation to ensure rights for others to keep yours intact. A duty sort of implies that you have to do it even if you find it unpleasant and I’m hedonistic enough to admit that I really rather not do something out of duty but because I committed myself to the action. An obligation, freely taken, if you will. The distinction is quite nuanced but the idea of a “civic duty” clearly holds no weight with an awful lot of people since paying taxes can be considered a “civic duty” and we still complain about it. I don’t complain (well not seriously anyways) about having to pay my taxes since it goes towards supporting services I utilize but I do complain about how complicated it is to file the damn things.

        I call it civic action because I think civic duty is an obligation because you owe something to someone, namely governments. Civic action is you taking on responsibility for change or whatever because you’re a citizen, you live there and how you live and how others live impact you. Civic action is also inclusive of civil disobedience and all aspects of taking control of our lives.

        Human rights is one of those things that often get the NIMBY (not in my backyard) symptom. As long as the majority of people have rights, it’s really easy to let all the violations slide on by. But this is truly a slippery slope to dysfunctional government,which naturally concerns me. That’s what motivates me to care really…no altruistic reason.

        I’ll stop there. As you can tell, I’m very passionate about the subject (well, politics really) and can go on forever but I won’t.

        Cheers!

        • I knew you two would get along famously – I’m happy that I could provide the introduction here. Akhila, I’ll tell you that YOU are going to really enjoy Mandy’s post – which goes live tomorrow.

          The concept of social change and social justice is something that flees the minds of us twenty-somethings. I think that WE think that our impact is so minimal that we can’t really make a difference. The truth is that doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING, is better than nothing. Donating $1.00 is better than no dollars, etc. I’m a firm believer that no amount is too small – if everyone spent an hour volunteering, if everyone donated a dollar to a local charity, if everyone was even just a LITTLE bit generous, we would see some pretty incredible things happening. Thank you, both of you, for bringing these ideas to light.

  7. Your writing is outstanding. It really moves me. Kudos for that.

    It’s hard not to agree with you Akhila. You make all good points. And I would like to add one, that i’m sure you agree with, and that it’s worth of a post by itself.

    People not only don’t care about social change because they don’t understand it. I know I do, I do understand all those reasons for why we take care of this boat we call earth. We are all in it together.

    I don’t think that’s the “main” reason for people neglecting this issues.I think it’s because our selfishness, has made us truly believe that we have always something more important to take care. Since we never feel the real problems close enough, we believe that our mundane situations matter more.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Surely you’ve seen this too.

    Wonderful Akhila.You don’t cease to amaze me.

    • Thanks so much Carlos! I really appreciate your thoughts and insight. And as to your other point: absolutely excellent point. I completely agree! I think what I wrote about is really, just the tip of the iceberg. I do still think that some people don’t really understand why or how important social change is, and that IS part of the problem. However like you’ve pointed out, there’s perhaps the bigger problem — I wrote about this recently on my blog — that people feel powerless to combat this huge issues. It’s easy to feel like social problems and issues are way too huge for any one person to tackle, and it is a lot easier to live a “selfish” life just for yourself and your own achievements. We don’t hesitate to help our loved ones or friends or family members. If they were sick or in trouble, we would abandon everything to help them, so it’s not like we are inherently selfish. BUT – the problem is we don’t feel like the problems of poor people or the human rights violations going on in other countries – are close to us. But here’s what I’m saying in this post: WE ARE all interrelated and so these problems ARE close to us. They affect us personally, and that is why we have to look beyond our selfishness to do something about it.

    • Carlos and Akhila – You both have tapped into the root of all evil, this idea that change is BIGGER than us. So many people look at the big picture and see (or think) that there is no way they can make an impact. But, in reality, one person can do a lot. Where does change come from? Where does a revolution start? With an idea – and that idea spreads. It takes one person to lead by example and step forward. If one person does this, other people will follow – it’s all a ‘change’ reaction. You may never see direct results of your actions, but if your doing your part, and others are doing theirs, collectively a group CAN make a difference. It starts with being a proponent of change and doing SOMETHING instead of nothing – if more people put themselves out there and at least TRIED, I think we would see some pretty amazing things happen.

  8. Your writing is outstanding. It really moves me. Kudos for that.

    It’s hard not to agree with you Akhila. You make all good points. And I would like to add one, that i’m sure you agree with, and that it’s worth of a post by itself.

    People not only don’t care about social change because they don’t understand it. I know I do, I do understand all those reasons for why we take care of this boat we call earth. We are all in it together.

    I don’t think that’s the “main” reason for people neglecting this issues.I think it’s because our selfishness, has made us truly believe that we have always something more important to take care. Since we never feel the real problems close enough, we believe that our mundane situations matter more.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Surely you’ve seen this too.

    Wonderful Akhila.You don’t cease to amaze me.

    • Thanks so much Carlos! I really appreciate your thoughts and insight. And as to your other point: absolutely excellent point. I completely agree! I think what I wrote about is really, just the tip of the iceberg. I do still think that some people don’t really understand why or how important social change is, and that IS part of the problem. However like you’ve pointed out, there’s perhaps the bigger problem — I wrote about this recently on my blog — that people feel powerless to combat this huge issues. It’s easy to feel like social problems and issues are way too huge for any one person to tackle, and it is a lot easier to live a “selfish” life just for yourself and your own achievements. We don’t hesitate to help our loved ones or friends or family members. If they were sick or in trouble, we would abandon everything to help them, so it’s not like we are inherently selfish. BUT – the problem is we don’t feel like the problems of poor people or the human rights violations going on in other countries – are close to us. But here’s what I’m saying in this post: WE ARE all interrelated and so these problems ARE close to us. They affect us personally, and that is why we have to look beyond our selfishness to do something about it.

    • Carlos and Akhila – You both have tapped into the root of all evil, this idea that change is BIGGER than us. So many people look at the big picture and see (or think) that there is no way they can make an impact. But, in reality, one person can do a lot. Where does change come from? Where does a revolution start? With an idea – and that idea spreads. It takes one person to lead by example and step forward. If one person does this, other people will follow – it’s all a ‘change’ reaction. You may never see direct results of your actions, but if your doing your part, and others are doing theirs, collectively a group CAN make a difference. It starts with being a proponent of change and doing SOMETHING instead of nothing – if more people put themselves out there and at least TRIED, I think we would see some pretty amazing things happen.

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post Akhila, it really made me reflect and take an honest look about why we hesistate to be part of social change in addition to the cumbersome nature of change in and of itself.

    I know many people who really want to embrace change and be part of the “bigger picture” yet their bubble gets deflated and they carry on with their regular routine stopping a few times to feel bad for a certain situation or sad about a cause but not doing much more and then carrying on.

    I also was moved by what Carlos said “Since we never feel the real problems close enough, we believe that our mundane situations matter more.” Sadly, I admit that I’ve been guilty of that in the past.

    An awesome quote, thanks for sharing – I especially love this part -“And because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential – and become full-grown.” – Barack Obama

    I’ve recently discovered how fulfilling it is to extend yourself beyond your own needs and requirments. I’m not fully there yet but at least I know I’ve had that moment of ‘awakening’ and am headed in the right direction.

    • Thanks Shereen – great comment! I am really glad to hear you’ve had a moment of “awakening” and are getting more involved in social change. I think it’s totally true what you said — people can often feel bad about a situation, unfortunate person or social issue, but it’s difficult to take that next step – ACTION.

      Perhaps it’s because what Carlos said is true, we just don’t feel like certain things are urgent enough for us to participate in, OR we feel helpless as if the situation is too grand for us to do something about it.

      With that said, here is a quote by Helen Keller: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

      So it’s not like we can do everything. But doing something is important, and contributing in any way we can DOES make a difference, and perhaps that’s a leap of faith we just have to make.

      Someone recently pointed me to this article, the Theory of Active Peace – which I think is really interesting in terms of seeing where you are in the process of taking action on a social cause (http://www.internationalpeaceandconflict.org/forum/topics/the-theory-of-active-peace).

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post Akhila, it really made me reflect and take an honest look about why we hesistate to be part of social change in addition to the cumbersome nature of change in and of itself.

    I know many people who really want to embrace change and be part of the “bigger picture” yet their bubble gets deflated and they carry on with their regular routine stopping a few times to feel bad for a certain situation or sad about a cause but not doing much more and then carrying on.

    I also was moved by what Carlos said “Since we never feel the real problems close enough, we believe that our mundane situations matter more.” Sadly, I admit that I’ve been guilty of that in the past.

    An awesome quote, thanks for sharing – I especially love this part -“And because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential – and become full-grown.” – Barack Obama

    I’ve recently discovered how fulfilling it is to extend yourself beyond your own needs and requirments. I’m not fully there yet but at least I know I’ve had that moment of ‘awakening’ and am headed in the right direction.

    • Thanks Shereen – great comment! I am really glad to hear you’ve had a moment of “awakening” and are getting more involved in social change. I think it’s totally true what you said — people can often feel bad about a situation, unfortunate person or social issue, but it’s difficult to take that next step – ACTION.

      Perhaps it’s because what Carlos said is true, we just don’t feel like certain things are urgent enough for us to participate in, OR we feel helpless as if the situation is too grand for us to do something about it.

      With that said, here is a quote by Helen Keller: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

      So it’s not like we can do everything. But doing something is important, and contributing in any way we can DOES make a difference, and perhaps that’s a leap of faith we just have to make.

      Someone recently pointed me to this article, the Theory of Active Peace – which I think is really interesting in terms of seeing where you are in the process of taking action on a social cause (http://www.internationalpeaceandconflict.org/forum/topics/the-theory-of-active-peace).

  11. Not to sound like a follower lol, but I agree with everyone else. This is a very empowering post. I think the message you’re trying to get across is that we are all part of a global community, which is so true, and very important.

    When I wrote my post for this series, I included a well-known quote from the Holocaust that ties in with this idea. It’s the one about no one speaking up as the Nazis came to take away group after group, because they were just grateful they weren’t part of those groups. They didn’t realize the flaw in their plan until the Nazis came for them and there was no one left to speak up.

    I think this is a lesson we really need to learn from. If we keep saying, oh what’s happening over in Africa is so horrible, but not doing anything about it because we assume someone else will…what will happen when the US really needs the help of other countries? We can’t expect them to be there for us if we weren’t there for them. The same is true for us as individuals. I really enjoyed your take on change. Great post!

    • Yes! Sam you totally got what I’m trying to say, and thank you for that. I completely agree – it’s a sense that the world is interconnected and we can’t cut ourselves off from the situations happening in other countries or like you said, even to individuals we know. We have to realize how closely linked the world is, and helping others is important even if it is hard, because we never know when we might need help in return. It sounds selfish, but that’s because it IS. I don’t think there’s anything “altruistic” about it.

  12. Not to sound like a follower lol, but I agree with everyone else. This is a very empowering post. I think the message you’re trying to get across is that we are all part of a global community, which is so true, and very important.

    When I wrote my post for this series, I included a well-known quote from the Holocaust that ties in with this idea. It’s the one about no one speaking up as the Nazis came to take away group after group, because they were just grateful they weren’t part of those groups. They didn’t realize the flaw in their plan until the Nazis came for them and there was no one left to speak up.

    I think this is a lesson we really need to learn from. If we keep saying, oh what’s happening over in Africa is so horrible, but not doing anything about it because we assume someone else will…what will happen when the US really needs the help of other countries? We can’t expect them to be there for us if we weren’t there for them. The same is true for us as individuals. I really enjoyed your take on change. Great post!

    • Yes! Sam you totally got what I’m trying to say, and thank you for that. I completely agree – it’s a sense that the world is interconnected and we can’t cut ourselves off from the situations happening in other countries or like you said, even to individuals we know. We have to realize how closely linked the world is, and helping others is important even if it is hard, because we never know when we might need help in return. It sounds selfish, but that’s because it IS. I don’t think there’s anything “altruistic” about it.

  13. I love that you speak of our interconnectedness. Almost like a world family. Caring for one another is like caring for ourselves. In general, I think we live in a selfish culture. Motivation and success are often derived from pride or narcissism. Not always bad, not always true, but I see it enough to know.

    I for one am passionate about social change. I donate locally to sustain the economy, then to my respective causes and with micro finance organizations like Kiva. Right now, I wish I could be “in the field” abroad, there in the action helping, but I know I am here loving what I do as well. So I do my part while there are many moving pieces.

    So I have a question: Do you think that social change has to be reached only through non-profit work, to bring about change? I’ve worked at two non-profits and loved it–but all the while we needed other larger organizations to thrive such as banks and members of our board. All of which were integral parts to the success and diversity of growth. It seems there are more sides and more answers, especially for social change.

  14. I love that you speak of our interconnectedness. Almost like a world family. Caring for one another is like caring for ourselves. In general, I think we live in a selfish culture. Motivation and success are often derived from pride or narcissism. Not always bad, not always true, but I see it enough to know.

    I for one am passionate about social change. I donate locally to sustain the economy, then to my respective causes and with micro finance organizations like Kiva. Right now, I wish I could be “in the field” abroad, there in the action helping, but I know I am here loving what I do as well. So I do my part while there are many moving pieces.

    So I have a question: Do you think that social change has to be reached only through non-profit work, to bring about change? I’ve worked at two non-profits and loved it–but all the while we needed other larger organizations to thrive such as banks and members of our board. All of which were integral parts to the success and diversity of growth. It seems there are more sides and more answers, especially for social change.