December 13, 2009

Building The World We Want

"We can build the world that we want. Nothing can stop us but inaction, lack of imagination, and lack of courage." - Eleanor Roosevelt

What I think makes this quote so beautiful is how clearly it lays out the challenges before us when we try to close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be.

It's so easy to sit back and wait. To get distracted. To put it off until tomorrow. We all know we could die at any moment, but what are the chances of that right? We all know there are people in the world that need our help, but what can we really do right now? We all know that the challenges before us are huge and serious, but it's overwhelming to sit around and think about that, yeah? I hear you. I get it. But I also think the worst thing we can do when faced with the path before us is not take the first step. I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr., "How soon not now, becomes never." Think about what you should do today in case you die tomorrow. Then do it. People in the world need your help. Help the person right next to you. Be there for them, listen, help them with their dreams. Don't think of the challenges we face as overwhelming, think of them as a chance to grow and do things you've never imagined before.

In the beginning of Stephen Covey's book the 8th Habit he quotes the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, "When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world." My experiences have led me to agree with that with all my heart. Finding something I love and letting my creativity loose on it has taken my life places greater than I've ever hoped to go. I say, expect that things will go better than you can comprehend and pursue your inspirations.

Maybe the hardest of the three, having courage this requires us to do what we are most afraid of. It's likely only you know what that is. People don't write down their dreams or share them with others for a reason. We have doubts. We aren't sure if we should be completely honest with others. With ourselves. But faced with the choice to give into our fears or move beyond them, I hope we all follow Ralph Waldo Emerson's advice, “Always, always, always, always, always do what you are afraid to do.” Starting now.