We are truly living in interesting times. The world is beginning to wake up to long-standing injustices and seems to be coming together in one voice to demand changes.
While it sounds wonderful on paper, in reality it could be a perfect setup for trouble.
The truth is, unfortunately, that wanting to change the world comes with its own set of dangers.
If you’re not careful, you could end up creating a bigger problem (as I wrote about before here).
Or you could end up being used. This is the topic of today’s post.
Don’t act on emotion
If you’re being moved to make (positive) changes in the world, you probably feel very strongly about injustice.
While this is a beautiful trait, it can also be a liability if you’re not able to control your emotions.
For example you may:
- react impulsively without thinking,
- be mislead by someone trying to create a false of empathy,
- be too trusting of people who (falsely) appear to fight for the same goals,
- be pacified by superficial ideas or gestures that appease you but do not solve the issues at hand,
- become angry and destructive when your frustration grows,
- become overwhelmed by what you may discover as you push for changes.
You could become the victims of all sorts of negative reactions.
Therefore, the first order of play is always to control your emotions. You should aim to tame your frustration, control your anger and temper your excitement.
Don’t ignore your emotions, but don’t allow them to take the lead either.
Instead, balance them with awareness, reason, knowledge, facts, analysis, etc…
Strive to gain control of your emotions no matter what happens around you.
ground yourself & reconnect with nature.
Everyone has their own idea of what the world should look like. However, it seems the world already comes with its own blueprint.
We can pretend to be in control for so long but eventually comes the (painful!) reminder that we’re not truly in charge!
The example I like to give to illustrate this would be to build a mansion on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean.
You would certainly have an amazing view.
Now, if you were to miss a slight detail, such as your mansion being located in a high tsunami-risk area, things would not look so wonderful anymore.
Something quite similar happened recently to these houses in Norway.
You do not want that to happen to you!
The easiest way to avoid this issue is tune back with nature.
Step into the natural rhythm of the world so you can tap into the original blueprint. Then you will be able to begin planning to make a positive difference without risking getting lost or side-tracked.
How do you do this?
Start spending more time in nature, get some plants, sit in the sun, listen to the birds, …
Just build that connection back!
It will help you stay on the right path, it will help you stay balanced and centered, and it will help you grow in discernment.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me say: ‘Study, study, study!. And I mean that.
You cannot effect change to an issue you do not understand, it is simply not possible.
You will make mistakes, you will support the wrong team, you will offend the people you’re trying to help. You will make a mess!
That’s why the foundational steps always include educating yourself.
There you’re might say: ‘Well, I am an educated woman. I have degrees from (insert prestigious credentials here), I follow (insert serious media outlet here). I know what’s happening in the world.’
Certainly, to some extend…
However, our modern society stands on hundreds if not thousands of years of history.
Do you have the data on all these events that have lead to how our society is structured right now?
These days, for example, following the death of George Floyd, the world is focused on racism and police brutality.
It’s beautiful to see people being so moved and so willing to change things.
What I am witnessing is people going back as far as looking into the civil rights movement, the 60s, maybe Jim Crow but that’s it.
Most people don’t look further.
Most people are happy just sticking to updating a few corporate policies, a couple of donations and changing the name of a few streets.
Did this really address the root of the issue?
Because of the truth is, this topic take its roots deep in the past, hundreds of years ago.
This means considerable amount of data needs to be gathered to get a clear understanding of what happened and of which lever to pull to finally achieve a lasting solution.
If you want to make lasting changes, that’s the type of dedication you will need to show.
don’t be lazy, get thorough!
We are living in an era obsessed with quick fixes and convenience. When you have question, finding your answer is as easy as asking your phone’s assistant, running a quick query through a search engine or opening a fact-checker.
Well, sorry, but won’t be good enough.
I am from the school of ‘get yourself a few good dictionaries and cross-reference every source’. I was taught to assume everyone is biased, everyone makes mistakes and that some people are actually straight-up dishonest.
Therefore, one should nevver take anything at face-value and confronting everyone’s point of view becomes an absolute necessity.
Experience has proven that generally the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Don’t let me catch you saying you’ve researched a topic by asking your phone!
You want to make a positive difference in the world?
Do the ground-work seriously!
– Check your feelings and allegiances at the door.
– Check the facts.
– Check who relates the facts.
– Check the track-record of those who relate the facts.
– Check the agenda of all involved.
– Check who’s checking your fact-checkers.
– Follow the money.
– Look for the backstories.
– Study all sides.
– Try to understand the deep motivations of all the players.
– Don’t exonerate the people who have your sympathy and discriminate against the people you dislike. Even a broken clock is right twice a day! Some people who may be abhorrent to you could have a piece of the truth.How to make a difference without being used tip #5? Research everything & research who's checking your fact-checkers. Click To Tweet
Don’t be too trusting!
This goes into my next point: do not trust anyone!
So, this is not to meant to sound paranoid rather this is an invitation to be cautious and not take anything at face value.
Here’s a story to illustrate what I mean.
Once upon a time, there was a natural disaster where I lived. On a trip to survey the damages we stumbled upon a TV crew, top-tier international network.
We stopped for a minute to observe them work. Hey, it’s not everyday you’re in the middle of the action and you get to spy on a team of this caliber.
Well, we were in for quite an informative experience…
The TV crew positioned themselves very strategically to create the illusion of complete devastation. And the reporter proceeded to paint such outlandish apocalyptic vision of the situation which was so far from reality that we were wondering if we were actually witnessing the same scene.
We left absolutely disgusted by the casual & blatant distortion of facts.
That was quite the eye opener!
And this is not an isolated incident of a prestigious institution not living up to its name.
More recently in the news, unreported foreign funding, spying allegations, and convicted pedocriminal Jeffrey Epstein connections tarnished the reputation of some of the most esteemed Ivy League institutions.
Not to mention the very recent botched pandemic study Lancet fiasco…!
All this to say, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the aura of prestige, the fame, the familiarity of anything that you encounter as you research.
Stay neutral! This is not a perfect society, people are not perfect, institutions are not perfect.
Act accordingly and be thorough in your enquiry.
More importantly use discernment!
Stay away from big movements
Now I’d like to insert a word of warning about big movements.
I know how exhilarating it can be to join a crowd galvanized by topics dear to your heart.
However, beware, participating in big movements comes with its own set of risks. There’s something about group dynamics, leader/ follower dynamics, formidable revolutionary energy that lends itself to all sorts of disruption.
Movements generally develop around a certain agenda which may appeal to you in the beginning. As things progress though, secondary agendas which you may or may not agree with tend to take over. Unfortunately, as part of the movement you will be expected to tow the line.
Also, ambitious people begin to covet leadership positions and things may become more political.
Secondly, movements have long history of being infiltrated, co-opted, diverted. Agent provocateurs have been staple of any big movement probably since the beginning of time. The civil rights movement for instance, as declassified documents have later revealed, was heavily been surveilled and infiltrated by governmental agents.
And lastly, movements have a tendency to get a little out-of-hand. Being French, our revolution comes to mind.
So, everybody loves mentioning the French revolution and how it changed society.
However most people seem to be unaware of the period of large scale massacres which engulfed the country in the following years, period which was aptly named ‘La Terreur‘ (I don’t think you need to speak French to understand that…!).
Although it has been romanticized over time, the truth is this revolution was a long, bloody and murky process were many ignominious deeds were perpetrated.
This is not be ignored.
All this to say, large movement lead themselves perfectly to be derailed and be used for anything but their original purpose. That’s certainly something to be aware of.To make a difference without being used, avoid joining movements. Click To Tweet
Be cautious if you’re going to donate
Do you remember the terrible earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010?
Did you feel moved to donate?
Did you ever follow up on what happened to that money?
Well, actually, not much!
This sort of things happens too frequently unfortunately.
Most people are kind.
Big causes opens their purses string.
However, even good causes can suffer from mismanagement.
Additionally, cynical & criminally-inclined people haven’t missed this reality and many have set themselves up to profit from other’s generosity.
Therefore, do not automatically assume that a donate button equates your money actually serving a good cause. It may or it may not.
Do a thorough background check while keeping in mind all the previous recommandations.
Don’t fall for ‘Oh, she’s a celebrity! I love her, she’s so amazing! If she says so!’.
Check the actual track-record of all players involved!
As you can see, doing your due diligence does require a solid amount of work. It’s not just about marching, pressing ‘donate’ or following the lead of your favorite celebrity.
The world is complex and making a positive difference requires a deep understanding of the complex forces and structures at play.
This takes a lot of time.
And as an already a busy professional, this can feel overwhelming.
However, this is certainly not meant to discourage you.
Wanting to improve the world is a noble and worthwhile objective, and you don’t have to give it up just because it seems too much.
Actually, I believe you’re already positioned right where you need to be to make a positive difference in the world in the most valuable fashion.
There’s something about you, your life story, your experiences that makes you an expert, the best candidate to solve very specific issues that the world could need solving.
In my opinion, this is where your genius and your power lies.
This is where you can effect positive changes with the maximum safeguards in place, the minimum need to educate yourself and the best chances of success.
In addition, this is also where you can make a positive difference without being overwhelmed.
Get started now!
So, what’s so special about you? What have you learned over the years that the world needs to hear? Who can you help with your experience?
I am convinced that being the best version of yourself is the best way to make positive changes without being used, misled or creating bigger problems.
– What can you today to start becoming the best version of yourself?
– How can you stop relying so much on your social mask?
– How can you embody more of your true self?
– How can you share more of your innate talents?
– How you effect (positive) changes where you are?
These are types of questions that will lead you to making a difference without being used or being lead astray.The best way to make a positive difference without risking to be used is to become your best self. Click To Tweet
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Updated on June 19th 2020