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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Be the Change You Wish to See

We ate Chinese take out food tonight and my fortune cookie had the following message "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Immediately it reminded me of this banner I had photographed in London last June. It was on display as part of a protest in a public square. I liked its positive message and snapped the picture as a reminder to myself.

What these words mean to me is that when I see something wrong in this world and feel the urge to do nothing but complain, I'm missing an opportunity. If I want a more accessible world for everyone, then I need to be part of making that happen. I need to advocate for increased accessibility within my own sphere of influence.

What does this quote attributed to Gandhi mean to you?

Thanks to Jonathan for telling me the source of this quote.


Jonathan said...

Hey Sarah,

I recognized that quote right away. I think it belongs to Mahatma Gandhi.

I remember writing down that quote many years ago and then, about two years ago, stumbling upon that quote in my book of quotes that I've collected over the years.

At that moment, I realized that I could change my world, not just the world for others. So, it has precipitated a series of changes in my life that I started doing and continuing to this day.

As I continue to change my world to be the world that I wish to have and to see, I noticed that I am able to assist others in ways that I wouldn't have been able to. I have a greater understanding of what it takes to make a transition in one's life, such as from going as a couch potato to an active gymrat. Now, some people fault me for being too optimistic. I dare not to see that as an insult, but just a confirmation that I have become the change that I wish to see in my own life.

At first, I was a bit hesitant to be the change in my own life because I thought it would be too selfish to partake in this journey. However, one of my friends said something that helped me to get over this perceived obstacle: "being healthily selfish is fine, while being unhealthily unselfish isn't." So, I have learned that being healthily selfish is sometimes for the better not only for myself, but for the world.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks for your insightful comment, Jonathan. I hadn't considered the difference between healthy selfish and unhealthy selfish before.

I would love to take a look at that book of quotes you've collected!

tattytiara said...

To me it's all about living in accordance with my personal values. If something I'm doing isn't sitting completely right with myself, I'm changing the world in a direction I don't want it to go. If I feel good, I'm contributing what I want the world to have more of.

Jonathan said...

Actually, it's more about the differences between being "healthily selfish" and "unhealthily unselfish". The first one is about being selfish, but in a healthy way. The second one is about being not selfish in an unhealthy way, which would be like thinking of others, but not of yourself.

But, you're right there is something to be said about being healthily selfish and unhealthily selfish.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

It means that the only person I can control is me. So change has to start here with me.

It's a great quote.

(e said...

Instead of complaining about how one theater near me don't provide closed-captions, I am going to try and work with them and convince them to caption at least one movie.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Wish me luck!


SpeakUp Librarian said...

Good luck (e. You go, girl! Let us know what happens.
Here is the link to (e's blog:

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks for your comments, Joey and tattytiara.

@Jonathan - Oops. I didn't read your comment closely enough. Thanks for clarifying what you meant.