“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world/ I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change the nation/ When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town/ I couldn’t change the town too/ Now as an old man I tried to change my family, but to no avail/ I then realized that only thing I can change is myself and if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact my family, the town and the nation.”- Rabi Israel Salanter.
While taunting man’s helplessness to achieve what he wants in life, this poem also underlines the impossibility of changing certain things in the world… things that remain immutable to change… things that go past human efforts. Our idea of bringing social changes is always laudable, but it is childish to anticipate the world to accept our ideas of change easily without questions and tune it to our thought frequencies.
Some of my friends are always switching companies and going in for new, green pastures. At the time of their migration to new companies, they blame their old ones being regressive and unresponsive to changes happening around them. The new companies upon which my friends hop in suddenly catch their fancies and I hear them speak high of them as if they are the companies’ newly appointed brand ambassadors. However, their new-find enthusiasm and fancy is a short- lived phenomenon… a flash in the pan. For, I know they would quit the new concerns too calling their bosses addled heads and the company lacking in long range visions.
So fastidious are my friends that they go on switching their jobs and adducing reasons for it. A deep study of their behavior may reveal that they have sort of mind-set that refuse to appreciate the goodness in other things or persons if they go against their pre-conceived ideas and thoughts. With the ‘I-am-always-okay’ thoughts ever filling in our minds, we built an imaginary world in ourselves and weigh the real world with our so- called self- worth.
Like nature, we should have equipoise in life. We should appreciate that while many things in life that are liable to change, still there remain some things that are immune to change. My friends who are switching companies are well qualified, but still quit their jobs feeling it infra dig to work with companies that are incompatible to their self-worth; they think that the concerns they are working for are not up to their expectations and that the people therein don’t buy my friends’ ideas and thoughts.
‘My mom doesn’t understand me; my family doesn’t understand me; none in my office hears what I say; and the society too is not ready to travel with my thoughts and principles,’ are some of the monologues we continuously indulge in all through our life without realizing that it is we who need to change and not the society. The thought that ‘we are always infallible, doing things right’ leads us to chaos.
Why do we indulge in such mawkish monologues? Why people including our family and friends don’t understand us? Why the society becomes lukewarm and looks at us askance when we try to change things? This happens because we always sit in a high pedestal of vanity and anticipate the world to rally around us and adapt to what we preach or ignore what we impeach. There were many leaders in our midst who changed many wrong courses in the world. They did not swim against the current; they rather went with it and turned it to their way at a right time. So, success becomes elusive to those who try to force feed others with their thoughts and opinions, however good they may be.
‘My god, give me powers and prowess to change those things that are susceptible to change. If not, make my mind more pliable to accept such things that are immune to change,’ should be our prayers. For, it is to be realized that things not remaining in our orbit of control and influence will never get changed. Any attempt to change them is meaningless and will go against the law of nature. ‘Is change is the law of nature or the rule of man’, we should ponder.
We cannot bring changes in the world without changing our mindset that only reflect our pride-self and know-all-character. We’d better remember that the world will never for once fall to our feet and adapt to the change we preach. Rather, it is we who should turn our thoughts to the course of the world. For, course correction, as charity, should begin at home.
“Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted.” What’s your take?
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