By Monika Khanduja, a young diabetes educator, Ahlcon International School, Delhi.
The world is changing fast. Technology, education, health, consumption – there is hardly anything in life that is not changing. Some changes we like, while others create fear and anxiety in us. While we cherish the former, we wish to avoid the latter. But can we do that by wishing alone? Most of us are not prepared to embrace the temporary uncomforting situations for a wave of long-lasting peace. Some of us get daunted by the thought that one has to possess the powers of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Saint Teresa to make a difference. The fact is, we all are born as humans for a purpose. We can, and we should contribute to making a difference in the world.
Begin with the Self
Making a difference in the world begins with believing that you can do something that doesn’t just benefit yourself. When your only goal is to serve yourself, the meaning you get from that goal is limited. To fuel the actions, you need to impact others; you must expand your purpose. If we intend to help others, they are more likely to help us back. If we invest our time in the issues we care about; others will do likewise. It may not be measurable immediately how much the change we are affecting, but everything we do adds value to the recipient. Imagine how much this world will be better if each one of us commits to just one act of goodness a day?
An incremental approach to catalyzing change
I always admire changemakers willing and bold to stand up and make a difference in the world. I believe if no one ever tries to change things, things simply are never going to change. I co-organized a Ted-Circle conversation on the theme “The Power of Nature” last month. We were surprised to discover that most participants seek examples of good, change-making stories through the internet and social media. Personal conversations and small group discussions are missing. Renowned leadership coach John C Maxwell insists that the best place to initiate a change-making drive is a table conversation. My colleagues and I saw the influence a table discussion can have while attending a table facilitated by my mentor Dr Ashok Pandey, JMT coach and trainer.
Let’s break down the steps we need to follow to be a catalyst of change, beginning with imbibing a value system. The first is to value hope, connect a relationship with the future, and develop a curiosity about action and innovation.
Investing in people, valuing them, being non-judgemental about them, and seeing substantial potential images is key to creating a sustainable society. We often get stuck in finding fault, holding grudges and revengefulness. That leads to unforgiveness and burdening us with thoughts that hamper our actions. Listening to others, sometimes, listening to ourselves, indicate our respect and value for others. Being a changemaker is not easy. We have to be authentic about it. What we are outside must align with what we are inside. Our relentless pursuit for the cause does not wait for supervision and monitoring.
I work primarily with educators engaged in shaping personalities. There are some focus points that I have learned from my experience. Change making teachers have a clear pathway of action to work with the children. Undoubtedly, there will be times when things do not go as planned, and we fail. It is essential to accept and embrace failure as part of the journey. Without practising empathy, inclusion, love and compassion for all, we cannot think of a sustainable change. Inspiring teachers are rich in humility.
We are stronger together.
As part of an enthusiastic group of people with Type1 diabetes in Delhi, we are helping, educating youngsters to cope up with the disease. Alarming as it may be, estimates suggest that over 100 million Indians will suffer from diabetes by 2030. The good thing is that simple lifestyle changes can prevent diabetes. Our vision is to de-stigmatize and raise awareness about people with diabetes and enhance their quality of life. Through education, emotional support, collaboration, and advocacy, we can change thousands of lives. Our work with the youth and school children encourages them to focus on Goal 3- Good Health and Wellbeing and achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of Global Goals adopted by 193 countries. The passion, voices, and skills of youth are more critical than ever. There is no better time to unleash the power of youth!
We must invest in the youth- naturally inclined towards diversity, inclusion and justice. With network and partnership, the child forms a challenging community of changemakers. We see how empowering youth is helping some of the most pressing global issues and setting us on track to achieve the SDGs. Saint Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”.
Change is not an impulsive act. It can take years and a lifetime to make the world a better place. Every time we change one bit, with one person, we’re creating a ripple effect with the potential to improve lives for generations to come. The greatest thing that we can do to make a difference in the world is to be what we are. Learn about yourself, invest in yourself and experience all the joys and blessings of life. Share your love, ideas, friendship, values, skills and spread goodness.