Why is it so easy for so many people to discard the possibility of changing our world? Why do so many people think it is impossible to change the way we live in, the way we conceive our lives nowadays? And why are those who believe in it seen as naïve, hopeless dreamers, insane or utopian?
I would say there is a conjunction of reasons as to why this happens, all of which are closely related.
1 – Fear. Fear is the number one cause as to why there are so many people who claim not to believe in the possibility of change. Truth is, we are all afraid of change, be it on a personal or in a global level. Fear of the unknown has always been a common trait of the human species – probably even of multiple sentient species.
Who among us has not feared the unpredictability of our future when we were young – or already adults? Who among us has not feared to make the wrong decision, when faced with the pressure of deciding our entire life based on a few choices when we were 16, 18 or 20-years-old? Who among us has never been afraid of “being stuck in a rut”?
However, for as much as we might fear change, it will always come. It is one of the most universal truths there is. Nothing is permanent, everything changes. We must, therefore, do our best not to fear it, because it will always happen when we least expect it, either for better or for worse. It is beyond our control.
But is it entirely? Let us look at point number 2.
2 – Lack of belief in oneself. Most people do not know or trust their own power. In each of us lies the ability to change the world, simply because change starts within. And it is our belief in change that can and will inspire others to believe in it too.
You have all probably heard of the common saying “Actions speak louder than words”. Instead of “words” we might use “thoughts” or “intentions”. In fact, intentions tend to come before actions. In ancient, Eastern religions such as Tibetan Buddhism, it is believed that your mental states are as important as your personal actions, provided that they nurture the right intentions. If you truly believe in goodwill, compassion, love, solidarity… your belief will be spread to others as honest and truthful. If you truly believe in something, you can share it with others knowing that you have behind you the strength of your honesty and faith.
We must trust our own powers and believe in them, just as we must believe that we, together, can bring change to the world.
This notion of our own power may, as always, be a double-edged sword. If we are powerful enough to do good, then we can be powerful enough to do bad. How can we, then, empower people with the realization of their own abilities and not lead them to harmful, egotistical acts? This can be explained in point number 4.
3 – Conformism. Most people are conformists. This is a widely known truth. As we grow up we are told how to live our lives in the same old, conventional way: you go to school, you study, you build a career, you start a family, you buy a house and a car, you work until you are 65 (+/-), you pay your taxes and then you die. (Or not, if somebody finally finds Nicholas Flamel’s Philosopher’s Stone and achieves immortality).
We are told this so many times and by so many people around us, people we trust, people we listen to, that most of us believe they feel comfortable with their own lives. But do they really? Is it possible that they feel interiorly dissatisfied? Do they not secretly want more – or different? The ability to imagine and construct a new, different life is directly connected to the courage to change what we have always assumed to be right, to be “normal”: conventional.
This leads us back to point number 1 – fear. If we do not have the courage to experience something new, to follow a new path, to create a new path… then how are we ever going to change our lives and those of others around us? To have the life you secretly desire, to build it and to enjoy it, you must first know yourself. Truly know yourself.
Which leads us to our final point number 4.
4 – Knowing oneself. People don’t explore themselves as they really should. If one carefully explored one’s inner essence, inner being, they would discover that the purer feelings we can harbour are those of love, unity, friendship, compassion. The human being has never been a solitary creature. We have never been independent as individuals. We need each other. We need to communicate with others, we need to love others, we need to grow with others and to live with them, in order to survive as a species. And this can only happen harmoniously if you nurture benevolent, peaceful feelings inside you.
To know your own dreams, your own passions – to know what makes you tick – is a way to access what truly makes you happy. And is it not every living being’s topmost desire to experience happiness and be free of suffering? Besides, what really makes you happy has the power to make others happy. This brings us to point number 2 and to point number 3. If people believed in themselves more, they would probably be more confident about following their own dreams, creating their own paths (belief in oneself).
If we believe that we have the power to positively influence the lives of others around us, we can no longer stay put (conformism) and live the same ordinary lives that are made of work, taxes, work and taxes. Working for survival. We will no longer conform to this tedious, stagnated way of life, for we will find what makes us happy, what makes us free… and what can consequently inspire and help others to also be free and happy.