Change Must Come From Within

Change Must Come From Within – #OceanGovernance (600 words)

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Talking about change one is often reminded of this quote by Niccolò Machiavelli – “It should be borne in mind that there is nothing more difficult to arrange, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating changes. The innovator makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new. Their support is lukewarm … partly because people are generally incredulous, never really trusting new things unless they have tested them by experience”.  But perhaps he was talking about changes that are externally imposed. 

The Mahatma famously said ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.  Michael Jackson sang of the ‘Man in the Mirror’.  Choose your hero, Michael or the Mahatma, but the message is simple.  Our whole thinking must change.  We have to expect less from others and ask ourselves what we can do for the others. 

As the joke goes – the Dalai Lama had just won the Nobel Prize and was feeling somewhat peckish.  So he goes to a nearby eatery to order a pizza.  The young man taking the order asks him, what sort of pizza do you want, Sir.  And Dalai Lama says somewhat tongue-in-cheek, ‘make me one with everything’.  Plush wish the Nobel cash, he pays with a $20 bill and waits his turn.  He gets the pizza and somewhat uneasily asks the young man ‘where’s the change’ and he replies with a chuckle ‘the change Sir, must come from within’.  Jokes apart, the takeaway here is that each one of us has to be that agent of change.  

As a teenager, one saw images of the iconic Ford Mustang and heard that driving the it North South along the Pacific Coastal Highway in California was the thing to do.  When I first travelled to California I neither had the time nor the money to indulge is this cherished activity.  On some subsequent visits, I had the money but no time.  On my most recent trip, I was fortunate to have both the time and money to fulfil my dream.  But then I thought, do I really need to do this?  Can my money be directed to something somewhat more useful?  This ability to distinguish between what you want and what you need must come from within.  

When we are young, we have our whole life ahead of us but we are very impatient.  As we grow older, we are increasingly aware that our time on the earth is getting progressively limited yet we tend to get infinitely more patient with things around us.  This is a dichotomy or a contradiction but it is also a change in perception that comes from within through self-awakening or self-realisation or whatever we may choose to call it.  Curiously, one is also eager to make a difference to the extent one can.

The recognition therefore, that the time to do something about the environment is rather limited and if we don’t do something, our future generations will never forgive us, is something that must come from within.  And only when that ‘change’ among us happens will we do something about protecting and preserving our environment for our children and our children’s children.  Each one of us can and should be that agent of change and ensure that the we do our utmost to inculcate this idea in at least another person so he or she also has this feeling that the change must come from within.