There are no rules for life. Inspiration is elusive; it cannot be gained through a catchy phrase plastered to your wall or taped beneath your keyboard. Words can remind us of our priorities, but so-called inspirational quotes are not adequate guidelines for life- and if they are, they are only guidelines- and if considered rules, they should be broken often.
For example, it seems like there are a lot of quotes out there designed to inspire us to remove the word, “try,” from our vocabularies. If we recognize our attempts as mere attempts, we are expecting to fail, but if we say we’ll do something, we will.
So then what happens when we fail anyway (and this will happen)? Did we lie to ourselves? Is lying better than recognizing that some things might lay beyond our capabilities?
What do we tell our kids? Is trying their best not good enough anymore?
Simply thinking about action is the first step to accomplishing something. The reason people often fail to follow through is because they become intimidated by that action. The idea is harmless; manifesting that idea involves work.
First, scale down the desired impact of the goal. Don’t think that if you can’t make something huge happen right away, it’s not worth it. This destructive mindset borders on cynicism and doubt. Remember that little changes make big changes happen… eventually.
Dreamers are rarely apathetic. For example, a recent economics course inspired a friend to research solutions for the fuel dilemma in the United States. He was inspired, but he wasn’t sure what he could accomplish on his own.
How about raising local awareness for fuel conservation? Raising awareness is one of the most powerful impacts people can have on a local level. And while global solutions are necessary, our own communities have the potential to catalyze global action. Some of the most successful global movements were first visualized by an individual or small group of like-minded people.
The first step is communication. Our neighbors and, eventually, our governments must notice us and our concerns.
Five Tools to Get Started:
1. Mailing Lists
Subscribing to mailing lists is an easy way to stay informed about topics of interest. Search the internet for organizations that share the same concerns. They will ask for aid and provide you with the resources you need to contribute to their causes.
Signing and distributing petitions are effective ways to spread awareness about a topic and to get people in power to notice local efforts. After all, there is power in numbers. The more aware people become about an issue, the more likely you are to recruit more activists. The more support you gain, the closer you become to achieving your goals.
3. Social and Professional Networks
Networking is a valuable way to stay informed and meet like-minded individuals. Through networking, you stand to gain fresh perspectives and helpful advice.
After you have associated yourself with established organizations, your memberships will prove extremely useful. Attend local events and join clubs in your community. Once people get to know you, they’ll be more likely to trust your judgment and follow your lead.
Sometimes, money matters most. Fundraising does three things for your campaign at once: It gets you noticed, raises awareness of your cause, and raises money that you can use to further develop your efforts. Have a solid plan for the money you raise; people will be more likely to donate if they are confident in your cause.
Stay motivated. It only takes one good idea to develop a movement with global impact.
© Alexis Jenny, 2011.
“All I know is we both share regrets…
We haven’t done this yet…
There’s nothing here we cannot change.”
Some of my friends claim that they have no regrets. I can understand that philosophy. Regret is like worry: it changes nothing. But I doubt that it is really a waste of energy.
There’s a concept that people tend to default to when asked philosophical questions. The popular answer to many controversial issues is simply “It’s what makes us different from…” Insert “animals” or “enemies” or whatever you like to complete the sentence. In my opinion, regret is part of what makes us different. It’s part of being human. If that means that it’s a human flaw, then so be it. Regardless, I don’t believe that it’s something we need to eradicate.
It’s easy to ignore our regrets. But if we truly don’t have any, then we aren’t learning anything. Ignorance might create bliss at times, but is it a fair price to pay for it? Without genuine introspection, we can never manifest this “greater good” and “bigger picture” that we’re always referencing. Without recognizing and understanding our own regrets, how can we improve ourselves?
I have regrets. I haven’t figured them all out yet, but some of them have taught me how to live better. And that’s something that I don’t regret at all.
© Alexis Jenny, 2010-2011.