1. Become A Dreamer Who Does
According to John Maxwell and Rob Hoskins, “Changing the world happens one life at a time.”
“Change Your World” is a book that INSPIRES readers to pursue big picture dreams and INSTRUCTS with practical steps to actually do something. As Brad Montague says,
“Dare to dream, but please also do. For dreamers are many, doers are few.” Brad Montague
It’s the dreamers who do who actually change their world.
Maxwell and Hoskins say, “The reality is that most of us are waiting for somebody else to do something about the problems we see.”
Real change requires both righteous anger about how things are and courageous action. Augustine of Hippo said,
“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” Augustine of Hippo
John Maxwell’s dad used to tell him a story.
Four frogs sat on a log. Three decided to jump off. How many frogs were left on the log?
Four! Deciding is not doing.
Good intentions don’t change you world; only good actions do.
“The biggest gap between failure and success is the distance between I should and I did… The smallest deed is greater than the largest intention.”
What dreams do I have for my world? What can I actually do about it?
2. Eliminate Excuses
As soon as we start moving toward changing our world, excuses are right there to push against us. As Maxwell and Hoskins say,
“We can make excuses or we can make changes, but we can’t do both.”
Hope is a major theme in the book, because hope fuels urgency.
Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
Hope is fueled by what we focus on. For example, they argue that it’s more helpful to focus on promoting prosperity than fixing poverty.
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose… Small actions, made consistently, lead to big changes.” Artist Vincent van Gogh said,
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent van Gogh
It’s easy to get so overwhelmed by all the needs of the world that I underestimate the impact of the small actions that I CAN take.
3. Go Together
You won’t make much of a difference on your own. As the African proverb says,
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb
I would add, it’s also a lot more fun to go with others!
The only way to make a lasting difference is to work with like-hearted people.
Experts say that the tipping point for an idea to take root in a culture is when 10% of the people adopt it.
They illustrate the characteristics of transformation with several word pictures.
A WATERFALL: TOP-DOWN—IT REQUIRES LEADERSHIP
“Transformation begins with influence, and influence always flows from the top down, like a waterfall, not upward.”
Cultural transformation trickles down when leaders are impacted within the eight streams of influence: government, education, business, religion, media, arts, sports, and healthcare.
LADDER: BOTTOM-UP—IT ENCOURAGES MOBILITY
“While influence flows down, transformation also climbs up.” Developing leaders need freedom to fail and room to rise.
HEART: INSIDE-OUT—IT EMBRACES VALUES.
“Living good values precedes giving good values… Good values always add value to us. And they make us more valuable to others.”
JOINED HANDS: SIDE BY SIDE—IT DESIRES PARTNERSHIPS
“What we focus on expands. If we focus on our differences, our differences increase. If we focus on what unites us, then our unity increases.”
A TABLE: FEW TO MANY—IT ENABLES GROWTH
One of the most practical next steps in the book is hosting “transformation tables” where good values can be discussed and applied.
They say, “Transformation happens a table at a time… The fastest way to find common ground with an enemy is to sit at the table and break bread with them… Everything good in human interaction starts with common ground.”
Tables provide a level playing field for ideas to be expressed, relationships to be formed and values to be transferred. Ultimately,
“Transformed people transform communities… mass movements don’t begin with the masses. They begin with a few people.”
People can be influenced from a distance, but lasting impact happens up close. One of the best places to start is around a table sharing transformative ideas.
A BRIDGE: HERE TO THERE—IT LEADS TO TRANSFORMATION
“The ultimate goal of any movement is to create a better future.” But how do you know you are making progress.
4. Measure What You Treasure
Bowling wouldn’t be much fun without the pins. If we want to make progress we must “measure what matters,” as John Doerr says.
Maxwell and Hoskins say, “Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment.” It takes courage and humility to look in the mirror at the results we are getting and be willing to make the necessary changes.
“When we argue with reality, we lose 100% of the time.”
But when we do win, we must make sure and celebrate the stories because,
“Facts fade, but stories stick… The stories we tell literally make the world. If you want to change the world, you need to change your story.”
What story are you telling with your life right now? What story would you like to tell?
As Martin Luther King Jr. said,
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” Martin Luther King Jr.