Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thoughts on Changing the World

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  -- Margaret Mead

It is almost impossible to know how we accomplish such monumental tasks.
But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and it continues, step by step by step. Mahatma Ghandi said you must become the change you want to see in the world.
Every action throws concentric rings, like a stone thrown in a pond.
Here is a story from One Thousand and One Nights:
The Caliph Harun al-Rashid, of Baghdad was walking in disguise, when he saw an old man planting a date tree. Date trees take at least 50 years to fruit, so there was no chance the old man would ever benefit from it.

The Caliph went over and asked why he was doing that.

The man replied, “For my grandchildren.”

The Caliph gave the man a gold dinar. The man recognized him, and said, “Behold, my Caliph! Not even in the ground yet, and this tree hath already borne fruit!”

The Caliph laughed, and gave him another Gold dinar.
The man said, “Behold a miracle, my Caliph! Not even in the ground yet, and this tree hath borne 2 crops in a single year!” 
Why tell that story? Stories are about patterns.
More often than not, when you get totally committed to a really difficult task, it doesn’t take as long as you expect.
Somehow, things start snowballing.
The first time is always the hardest time, then things get easier. Get started. Do anything. Do what you can where you are with what you have.
Ghandi said to do what you must, and not worry about the fruits. We won’t see rewards for this kind of work, but do it anyway.
Nothing frustrates the naysayers more than persistence and success.

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