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Change starts with you

Clarice Bouwer

Software Engineering Team Lead and Director of Cloudsure

Friday, 12 May 2017 · Estimated 2 minute read

Mahatma Gandhi says to start changing yourself if you want to change the life around you.

"Change starts with you"... how cliché Clarice. Thanks for that one.

Okay, I really feel I need to deep dive into this topic to make my intentions clear. It is common knowledge yet subtly and very challenging to apply in both personal and professional relationships.

So why did I choose a depressed lady sitting in the corner of her room moping for the hero of this post? Well...

  • If you are a people-pleaser, you want to keep everyone around you happy. This isn't possible as we know. People like different things and behave differently in the same situation to others. This may unsettle you especially in conflict.

  • If you are someone who wants to get things done and notice that people are working too meticulously or what you may deem to be "snails-pace", you may get frustrated.

  • If you are methodical and meticulous, you may feel anxious around someone who is rushing you or hounding you for deadlines or progress status updates.

You get my point. No matter who you are, there will be some form of conflict contributed by an external factor that you cannot control. This can make us sad and could lead to depression.

You may feel the need to walk into a building and tell people exactly how they need to act and work in order to create synergy for you. Effectively this could cause chaos for them. Granted a company culture where people buy into is most likely an effective umbrella of action-oriented behavior but what about on a personal level?

You cannot change other people. You can't change the way they think, what they believe, how they act or what they say. It's just not possible.

You can share insights and influence others through your behavior but they choose how they react and interpret what you do and say.

This is why change starts with you. It doesn't mean you are going to change the world. It just means that you change your world.

  • You decide how to perceive what is happening around you.
  • You get to choose what impacts you (broadly) and how.
  • You have control over how you react to other's words and behavior.
  • You decide what consequences and trade-offs you are willing to take for whatever decision or situation that arises.
  • You become the creator of your life instead of fall victim to society.

Easy? No. Possible? Yes - with a lot of hard work and dedication. Have I mastered this? No. I am struggling my backside off trying to implement this in my life, which is why I write about it. To remind me and share what I have learned with others.

Gandhi has 10 Rules for Changing the World:

  1. Change yourself
  2. You are in control.
  3. Forgive and let it go.
  4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.
  5. Take care of this moment.
  6. Everyone is human.
  7. Persist.
  8. See the good in people and help them.
  9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.
  10. Continue to grow and evolve.

The road to self-discovery is a long-winded topsy-turvy journey. I've been on this journey for a while now and have written much on it. Feel free to explore some of the highlights of my "journal":

If you are also on this journey, I wish you the best of luck. If you are eager to contribute, start a discussion. I am eager to hear what you have to say.