“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 underscores the impossibility of changing certain things in the world… things that remain immutable to change… things that go past human efforts.
Some of my friends are always switching jobs and going in for new, green pastures. At the time of their migration to new companies, they would blame their old ones being regressive and dead to the changes happening around them. The new companies my friends hop in suddenly catch their fancy and I hear them speak highly of them. But, their fancy is a short- lived phenomenon. For, I know they would quit the new concerns too calling their bosses addled headed morons 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 there are many things in life that are liable to change, still there are some things that are immune to change. My friends who are switching companies are well qualified. They have all the know-how and expertise in their respective fields. However, they are not ready to adopt themselves to the atmosphere of a company, which requires a change of mind-set. They quit their jobs feeling it infra dig to work with companies that are incompatible to their self-worth. If they had been a little patient, they could have brought desired changes in their workplaces.
‘I am always infallible, doing things right,’ is the thought that drives many of us when we pitch in to change things around us. While we perk up our ears to hear the ideas and thoughts of our contemporaries, we never open our minds either to accept them or evaluate their merits. Unfortunately, we expect such opening of minds from others when we preach our notions and thoughts. It is a sort of ‘I am okay, but you aren’t okay’ mind-set that refuses to see the worthiness in others.
‘My mom doesn’t understand me; my family doesn’t understand me; no one in my office hears what I say; and the society too is not ready to travel with my thoughts and ideas,’ 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.
Why do we indulge is such mawkish monologues? Why people including our family and friends don’t understand us? Why the society is lukewarm and looks askance at us when we try to change things? This happens because we always sit in a high pedestal of vanity and expect the world to rally around us and adapt to what we preach or ignore what we impeach.
There were a lot of leaders in our midst who changed many wrong courses in the world. The world accepted their course corrections without resistance as the leaders did it smoothly without the air of ‘I-know-all’. They did not swim against the current; they rather went with the stream 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.
We cannot bring changes in the world without changing our mindset which only reflects our pride-self and know-all-character. We’d better remember that the world will never for once fall at 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, like charity, should begin at home.
“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,” has been the prayers of those who want to sail smoothly through the hard waters of life.
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