The answer to this question is simple. The implementation of it, however, is not easy. If it were easy, the world wouldn’t be in the condition that it is currently in. To start, though, I feel it is prudent to make clear what we are talking about when referring to the world.
The world is everything in/on/of earth as it is now. The natural state of the world is balance. The world is currently in a state of disharmony because of the choices and actions that are taken by mankind.
So when we talk about making the world a better place, we are really talking about improving the actions that humans are taking while on this planet. These actions are the cumulative total of actions taken by individuals. Individuals only really have control over their own actions and no other’s.
The answer is simple.
The way to improve the world is to improve yourself.
The work is not easy.
Improving oneself is a difficult task. The hardest part is to just get started because it requires an admission to yourself that you were wrong. This is an unpleasant thought to address, so in large part most people avoid doing this. We become workaholics, couch potatoes, or escape with drugs. We occupy our attention on anything but ourselves.
Take for example the American diet. I was guilty of this for nearly all of my life. I knew how unhealthy fast food was, but I ate it anyway. I had a lack of respect for myself and valued the feelings that the chemicals in the food triggered over the work required to become healthier. I never even gave a thought to the chain of events that lead to that meal being served to the waste created afterwards.
Factory farming for meat is anything but humane. Chemicals used in pesticides have been shown to cause cancer and contain neurotoxins. The demand for easy, quick food comes at a cost. This cost is something that we are not willing to look at.
Multinational conglomerates have no conscience when it comes to polluting the earth as long as it is profitable, yet we continue to buy their products. In fact, we will wait in line overnight outside of the store to get this stuff.
We do know that this is happening behind the scenes, but it is conveniently kept out of our vision. In order to improve something, we first have to acknowledge how something actually is. Whether it’s fear or pride or another reason that keeps us from looking at it, doesn’t change the truth. Ignoring it, which is ignorance, actually says that doing these things is ok so go ahead and keep doing them.
Waiting on the World to Change
If this is what you are doing and wonder why it is not happening, you only need to go to the mirror to find out why it is not getting better. I used to justify this myself. I could see the atrocities that are happening in this world and felt helpless to do anything about it. I felt helpless because I felt that I was separate from the problem and not actually part of it.
I was wrong.
I was as much a part of the problem as everyone else. I was just as culpable as the person that directed the dumping of toxic waste into the ocean. I wanted the latest technology and didn’t pay attention to any costs associated with it outside how much money I paid for it. I was equally to blame for the circumstances that bring about terrorist actions. I didn’t say no to government policies that deliberately cause upheaval in locations far away from my own home.
I knew that every effect had a root cause, but I never cared enough to learn what that cause was or even worse, I didn’t care enough to change my actions even though I knew the actual causes. These are harsh realities to address and they did not come easy. In fact, I did not even know I would need to address these things when I first committed to improving myself.
Accepting Personal Responsibility
If you are not responsible for actions that you take, including the costs associated with those actions, then who is?
Even though you may not have directly caused harm, if you consume a product that resulted from the harm of another, you share that responsibility as well. No matter how you try to justify it, you cannot abdicate your personal responsibility. This justification only takes place in your mind and does not change reality.
Accepting personal responsibility was the first epiphany I had during my journey towards self improvement. This journey is really a lifelong quest, but once this principle is understood the travel becomes a lot faster. It is more chaotic and disturbing after this realization, but it gets smoother if you are committed to doing the work.
Go All the Way
This work of self improvement must be taken all the way to the top of the mountain. There will be things you find in the reflection that might be terrifying to you. The only way to overcome this is to face it. Do not stop at this point of the climb and pitch a tent. The two biggest mistakes made by people is to 1. never get started and 2. not finish it.
I am committed to going to the top of the mountain. I have learned how to climb the mountain and how to get there so now I can also teach others how to do the same thing. I cannot, however, climb the mountain for you. If you want to come to the top with me, you have to do the work.
There are no shortcuts but there are many paths to get to the top. I started out on the winding path that would take multiple lifetimes to finally get to the top, then I discovered a path within that is more direct although significantly more difficult.
I had to gather the correct tools which is the knowledge of the truth. I had to heal my body so I could make the climb. I had to focus my energy or spirit on goal so I could start and keep going through every obstacle I come across.
Through this experience I have begun to see a world that is struggling dearly to become better. I am connected to people that are working on themselves in order to take proper actions in the world. I see this work being done and there are a lot of them doing this work. It still pales in comparison to the amount of people that have yet begun to do this work and until this dynamic changes we will not see tangible changes in the world at large.
You are responsible for which path you choose to take. You do have the power to change yourself and make the world a better place. You can also choose to do nothing and let things continue as they are. Either way you are responsible for the effects caused by your choices.
If you are ready to begin this work in earnest, I am here to help you on your journey. Email, call, or leave a comment below.
See you at the top of the mountain looking down a beautiful world!