How to change the world

How to change the world

I went to a seminar last night entitled How to Change the World hosted by the School of Life.  A big subject I grant you. Especially in 3 hours.

But with a headline like that I just had to say yes….to be inspired, to get a chance to explore some longer term projects of my own and at the very least meet some interesting people also drawn to creating change.

Im pleased to say, I got all of this and more.

We kicked off the session with an exploration of what it is that we wanted to change (however impossible it might seem right now) and why that matters to us.  What came up for me given all that is facing us on a global scale is the quality of leadership amongst our Politicians. I am often deeply concerned at the level of dysfunction, blame, contempt, aggression and short term thinking shown between warring parties in the Commons and I see the impact this has on our public institutions. Working alongside leaders in the Police and NHS has given me a whole new perspective of the challenges faced when you have political masters. I want do what I can to facilitate change in the culture, team dynamics and levels of trust in politics and I don’t know exactly how Im going to do it. But it matters to me that our leaders are ones that are respected, respectful, who know how to listen, collaborate, are trusted to do the right thing for society (not just themselves or their parties) and that when my daughter is eligible to vote in a few years time she is engaged to want to use her vote, most importantly for people she considers to be inspiring leaders to take us forward.

If you are going to change anything it helps to get the “what” clear first, and your motivation. What ever that motivation is, and wherever it comes from, the “Why” provides the fuel to propel you forward into action and engage others to help you.

Then we got into the interesting part: what holds us back…..most commonly:

– “it” is too big, too scary, too much to tackle

– “things” i.e. the system/context/environment/culture has been that way for so long,  it can’t change

– or ones that are a little closer to home: “I” don’t know the right people, have the connections that it will take to make a difference, I can’t do it on my own, I will come up against resistance, I don’t know where to start, I don’t want to fail……

Perhaps as you are reading this you could add more to this list. Most usually turn out to be excuses or massively exaggerated fears but it sure helps to 1) notice them 2) establish what if any grains of truth there are. Ultimately if the thing you want is in alignment with your values, acknowledge the concerns or issues but not so that you become crippled or overwhelmed by them. Im a great believer in being real – and having a strong sense of reality about your start point. Then, and only then, has creativity and the desire, momentum to find a way anything to hook into.

We then took a look at some real life very extraordinarily ordinary people who had got clear on what they wanted to change, why that mattered to them and acted on it. One particular illustration I loved 🙂

Rob “the Rubbish” Kevan

Rob Kevan is a retired social worker, chef, grandfather, marathon runner, football referee and Manchester City supporter. A few years ago he started to notice the litter in his town of Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys. In 2005 he started getting up at 5am and and picking up the litter from the steets around the town.

He created a movement that started to get picked up in the media,  leading to appearances on the Jeremy Vine Show, mainstream BBC TV The One Show which created ripples that propelled him and his initiative far beyond his home town.

Rob has led and inspired clean ups of a number of mountians including Snowdon and Ben Nevis. In 2006, he flew to Nepal with a film crew and participated in a 3 week trek clearing litter from the walk in to Everest Base Camp. Google him and you will find an internet site which recognises and shares success stories of all those who have decided to take Robs lead, step forward and single handedly create a revolution to clean up their local communities.

What I think it shows?

1) Every big initiative, every big change starts with one small act.

2) A movement of change catches fire when like minded souls find each other.

3) We all have people around us prepared to help, prepared to step forward and join us (if we are prepared to step forward and ask for it).

So maybe some of you have an idea for how I can move my challenge forward. Maybe you have something you want to change. Maybe you can see a very next step you can take, however small, that can take you one step closer to achieving that goal.

Take it and let me know what happens. This is how we can change the world.

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