There are currently many global problems that need solving. The sheer amount of suffering that goes on in the world can be so overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to begin. Human beings are innately selfish. We’ve evolved this way to survive. But starting the change within yourself is not selfish. In fact, it’s the opposite. Sparking small change is like a domino effect. It can ripple out to every area of your life and inspire others. If you want to change the world, start with yourself.
In a recent Psychology of Entrepreneurship volume, I arranged a Clubhouse session with some of the most brilliant innovators I know. We called this conversation “How to Solve the World’s Most Meaningful Problems.” The panel consisted of Darin Olien, Naveen Jain, Trivinia Barber, Kylie Ryan, Tracey Ivanyshyn, Hayley Hobson, Matthew Bertulli, Kelsey Ramsden, Lindsay Padilla, Yuri Elkaim, Erik Huberman and Sean Croxton. I won’t go into their individual credentials, but trust me when I say they each have plenty. These are all entrepreneurs and business-minded people that want to inspire global change. But they don’t wait around for someone to tell them what to do. They go out and inspire their own change.
The Change Within
We went into this conversation, knowing we were tackling the impossible. Or, as Darin Olien said, “Can we solve all these problems right here right now in this conversation? No, but what we can do is raise our level of consciousness and awareness.”
It wasn’t about talking in circles, either. We wanted to uncover new angles, different outlooks and unique approaches to age-old conversations. The pandemic exposed deep cracks in society that have always been there but brought about an acute awareness that’s hard to turn off. The good thing about this is that the conversations feel more urgent and raw. Maybe we’re on the cusp of tangible shifts in perspective. Perhaps we’re getting close to a collective change in mindset. All I know for sure is that we each have to start in our own houses. “It goes back to how we respond individually, and we have to take care of our house,” Darin said. “And our house is the things we can do to respond.”
So if we’re starting with ourselves, what does that mean? It can be as simple as making an effort to get more sleep. Or to set aside time for yourself to make your mental health a priority. Or to read a book every month. All these little things may seem meaningless, but they actually pack quite a powerful punch. When we’re at our best emotionally, physically and mentally, we’re more apt to be examples for other people.
Tackle the Bigger Things
Once you’ve made the shift to make personal changes, you’re ready to tackle the bigger things. This starts with small tweaks that result in big changes. “Trying to solve big problems by asking people to change behaviour is never going to work. We have to gently shift it over time,” Trivinia Barber said. So what does this look like? Well, you can make an effort to only support products and companies that give back or use sustainable business practices. Or you can get involved in your local community by committing to volunteering once a week. All these small things add up over time to significant changes.
Embrace Different Opinions
If I learned anything from listening to these brilliant people, it's that we need to do this more often. We need to assemble people with unique abilities and backgrounds and let them think out loud for a while. But it’ll take more than just like-minded individuals because problem-solving isn’t linear.
Have you ever noticed that when someone says something you passionately disagree with, you spend all day thinking of responses? Sometimes I wish I could bottle that passion! We shouldn’t shy away from conversations with people with different beliefs than our own. Solving the world’s problems is not going to happen because a group of people with the same ideas take action. It’s going to happen because a group of people with different ideas found a way to combine problem-solving techniques to be most effective.
So maybe starting the change within can begin by making an effort to listen to more varying opinions than your own. And to continue the conversation.
Author: Kaili Bonnyman
Kaili is the Queen of Audio at Must Amplify.