When you see bad stuff happen around you that you cannot control, it is tempting to begin to feel powerless and hopeless. After all, what can you do? There are people out there who are more powerful and influential than you who’re unable to do much. So, where does that leave you?
I think the only answer that makes sense is – get better. Be a better person by taking the time to define and live by your values, stay healthy, learn more, engage in deep conversations – especially those that express opposing viewpoints -, and grow. Sure, some on-the-street activism this afternoon may create a short term stir. But, if you want to create long lasting change, you have to play the long game.
As you do this, you will likely influence more people than you realize – at home, at work, and in the community. If all goes well, you will also have real influence in these communities because you chose to lead by example. And, over time, that influence can translate into cultural change – the only kind of change that lasts. There is a lot of space for all our communities to be more open, more inclusive and more caring. For this change to happen, it will need an insider, i.e. you, to lead these communities through this change. Today might not be the day for that. But, if you care enough, that day will come soon enough.
Until then, you will have to hope that there will be others who are willing to take the plunge and lead. But, you don’t control that. So, stay focused on what you can change. The more you do that, the more you will be able to change – in yourself and in the world around you.