Making an impact

An unknown Monk once wrote:

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realise the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly realise that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

It’s a profound piece of writing that demonstrates an understanding of the impact you can have. I’m sure everyone reading this has wished for external changes. I know I have. Have you ever thought one of these?

  • If X just did Y then we can fix it.
  • Why does Z keep behaving that way?
  • My boss really doesn’t get it. If he just thought differently about this then everything would be better.

The problem is, unless the individuals involved can reflect on the challenges or potential improvements you see and come to their own conclusion that their behaviour needs to change, it’s not something that will change. The only person you can change is yourself. It’s easy to get into a position where everyone else is to blame – you might be right. But, that won’t lead to a positive change.


Is there a problem you are working through at the moment that you think is someone else’s fault? Could you reframe this as a change that you might make?

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