Forget The Pres. Election: Let's Elect Ourselves for Change « Pun Intended
Written by Bamboo Forest


Illustration by ~n4orcer

With the presidential election on the horizon, we hear much about how this leader or that leader will change the state of our Nation and our world.

But what about us…

Where do we fit into this big picture of changing this big world?

I’m here to argue that truly profound change can sweep the globe if we simply begin with ourselves.

It’s really easy to sit in an air conditioned room lamenting with your fellow about this problem or that problem.

What’s not so easy is focusing on ourselves, and what we can do to change the world we live in. No, that takes hard work.

I have a stunning news flash. We are the world and the world is us. When we change, the world does right along with us.

I’m not saying don’t lament about the state of our world. Hell, I’ll pull up a seat right along with you and pour myself a cup of tea while I’m at it. What I am saying, though – is let’s put things in perspective. Let’s not use an obsession with world leaders as an avoidance mechanism for looking in the mirror and asking the tough questions: figuring out how we ourselves can change, which is ultimately what changes the world.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. ” – Leo Tolstoy

Another mistake is assuming it’s only the “big” issues we should focus our minds on. Yeah, well, what about the “small” issues? What about our own neck of the woods – our own neighbors? Should we simply entertain that all of that exists in a vacuum? It just doesn’t count? It’s not a part of the big picture? It involves me directly too much, and thus I will over look it?

Can changing ourselves in one neck of the woods change the rest of the world? Can engaging the “little” things in our corner of the planet ripple out to other parts of the planet? Whether it can or cannot is actually irrelevant. It’s irrelevant because no matter what perspective you take, you will almost always have the greatest impact on the people you live with and interact with day in and day out. That’s the facts.

Some Real Ways to Change Our World

Be happy. Or at the very least, be neutral. It cannot be overstated how much of an affect our demeanor has on those we interact with. This remaining the case, no matter who the leader is in our land, now or a hundred years from now.

Ever noticed the affect a clerk, waiter or a doctor has on us – who was making sure well to carry their misery on their shoulders? In contrast, ever noticed how a warm smile from a stranger brightened your day? Our demeanor affects everyone we cross paths with. Making real efforts here changes our world immeasurably.

Be patient. Ever stood in a grocery line with someone who wanted to make it completely apparent to everyone else how irritated they were? Ever had to deal with a driver and their road rage? Ever seen hurtful words exchanged? Was either party devoid of anger when this took place?

Working on our temper is one of the greatest things we can do for our family, friends, neighbors: the world.

Volunteer. This is a great way to directly affect those in your back yard. The kind of things you can do here are endless. You can build houses for low income families. You can be a mentor to a young boy or girl who could really benefit from it. You can help a food bank organize food for distribution to those in need. In short, you can do anything and everything that resonates with you.

It’s good to be mindful and active in what happens to people outside of our closest zone of influence and to our prospecting leaders.

But…

Let us not delude ourselves to the reality that we and our actions are just as big a part of the world as anything else.

Brought to you by Day 2 of Halloweelection

17 Responses to “Forget The Pres. Election: Let's Elect Ourselves for Change”
  1. I am not patient by nature, but you’re right: being patient with others is so important.

  2. Tabbie says:

    Ha ha I must be a saint! =P
    But what a great post! Change for the better begins within each of us. I know in me there is always room for improvement.

  3. Chase March says:

    Be Happy. Exactly. And if you aren’t happy, “fake it till you make it.” It is easy enough to have happy and cheerful answers to colleagues that you pass by at work.

    I’ve learned patience from my experience as a teacher. I think patience is a learned skill. You need to practise being patient. But, it is something we should alll learn.

    Volunteering is a great thing to do as well.

    I hope your readers will take this post to hear. I agree with everything you said.

  4. Writer Dad says:

    I enjoyed this post Bamboo. I love your short, funny posts, of course, but this one was dead on. I agree that it’s important to be happy. I’m generally in a very good mood and it always seems to elevate those around me.

  5. @ Vered: Patience / not getting angry… Mastering these are huge.

    @ Tabbie: Self change is huge. We all contribute to the well being of the world, via our day to day involvement. The little things aren’t so little.

    @ Chase March: I agree that patience is something that one must develop because it is natural to be impatient. Yet, as I’ve stated before: what is natural is not always good. In fact, often it’s not; thus, we must change our natures.

    @ Writer Dad: Glad you enjoyed it. When one strives to be happy, they are definitely doing a good deed to humankind. Not a theoretical good deed, but one that is as concrete as any other. As you say, a happy person elevates those around them and an unhappy person will bring people down. That’s a huge impact. So, happy people make this world a better place.

  6. Hi Bamboo – No truer words were spoken. We certainly can’t rely on the next leader to solve all of our problem. But hopefully they will do something to alleviate some of the BIG ones. I agree, by turning inward and working on our problems, we can help those closest to us, whether it be friends, family or neighbors.

    Like you said, we can be the start of a ripple affect.

  7. Marelisa says:

    Hi Bamboo: “Let’s elect ourselves”, that’s a great message. And your message is similar to Kennedy’s: “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I agree that change starts with ourselves and that even small actions can have a big impact in the long run.

  8. @ Barbara: I do think we ourselves can make much more of a difference than we may think in our society. We all influence each other whether we know it or not.

    @ Marelisa: That’s a fine quote and I suppose my title does figure into it.

  9. Evelyn Lim says:

    I’m all for the idea that changes should start with ourselves. How can we get the world or others to change if we do not practice what we preach?

    So let’s work on ourselves and remember this quote….

    “Begin today! No matter how feeble the light, let it shine as best it may. The world may need just that quality of light which you have.”
    — Henry C. Blinn

  10. BC Doan says:

    I believe in volunteer work! It tides in with be patient, be happy, and rewarding as well. Great post, Bamboo!

  11. Davina says:

    Hi Bamboo. This was fantastic! I was bombarded with emails from a few acquaintances telling me how I should vote and was getting tired of hearing about our election everywhere I went. I know it is important, but in a way it only serves to separate us more. “Elect ourselves” — EXCELLENT; I’m going to share this post with my “friends”. Thanks!

  12. @ Evelyn Lim: That’s a great quote. Thanks for sharing.

    @ BC Doan: Thank you. Volunteer work really does improve the world in a very tangible way.

    @ Davina: Thank you very much. The problem I see, Davina, is there may be a tendency for people to forget their own personal responsibility at improving the world. Much of this responsibility is centered upon raising children well, being kind to your fellow man and the bear bone work at improving ourselves individually. This is all completely done outside of the realm of who our leader is; and yet its contribution is completely necessary for our world to thrive.

  13. daventry says:

    Nice article!

    Btw, Mohandas Gandhi once said, “We must become the change we wish to see in the world.” I think those words go nicely with your article, no?

  14. @ daventry: Yes, I’m familiar with that fine quote. I even considered utilizing it for this article. They do go nicely.

    I happen to believe that when we improve “small” areas of our character, the world becomes a much better place. Our interactions sometimes affect those around us for the better, and sometimes for the worse.

    It’s up to us.

  15. […] Day 2: Forget The Presidential Election: Let’s Elect Ourselves For Change […]

  16. BF, this is such a great discussion to be having. Expecting a new president to make a drastic difference (in either direction) is like expecting a life coach to change your life or a Top 10 list to solve your problems. Sure, all those things can help, but none of them will do squat without each of us putting forth the necessary mental effort, focus and discipline to get it done.

    I don’t know if this peculiarity has affected all generations of people going way back through history, or if it’s a rather new phenomenon. But it’s a plague either way, and it’s in need of a cure.

  17. @ Jeb Dickerson “Necessary mental effort, focus and discipline.” That’s a good way of putting it. That’s exactly what it really is. It’s at the core of change.

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