Change is an Inside Job

Advice that has been around a long time is usually good. More than a hundred years ago Henry David Thoreau said, “Things do not change; we change.” More than sixty years ago Gandhi challenged us to be the change we want to see in the world. And the same message was present last week at the Vancouver Peace Summit. Modern teachers and philosophers including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, Sir Ken Robinson and Matthieu Ricard all echoed this wisdom: If you want something to change, change it.

So why are things not the way we want them to be?

  Sometimes the problem just seems too darn big. Everything from world peace to weight loss feels like an overwhelming challenge. Sometimes change doesn’t happen because we get stuck on the circumstances. If only the situation was different, then we could tackle the problem. Sometimes we’re waiting for someone else to change or perhaps get the ball rolling. And sometimes we just don’t have the confidence or truly believe that things could be different.

Look inside not outside yourself

  When you look outside of yourself for change, you will likely be waiting for a long time. No matter what change you long for – whether global or personal – quite simply, it starts with you. 

Global peace begins with personal peace.

A robust economy begins with your own financial responsibility.

A healthier, happier society begins with your self care.

More love in the world begins in your own relationships.

And on and on.

  Begin asking yourself:

What can I do to improve this situation?

What small step can I take toward change?

Think of your life as a microcosm of the world.

  If everyone becomes their own change agent, eventually the world’s problems will begin to resolve. We’ll reach a critical mass of thinking and action that will shift everything. Now how cool is that? It’s a win-win for everyone.


5 Principles for Personal Change

Want something different in your life or the world? Here are some tips for creating personal change.

  1. Take responsibility. It’s easy to complain. Instead take a deep breath and decide how YOU can step up and begin making things different.
  2. Focus on small steps. Whether it’s losing 30 pounds or creating world peace, thinking about the enormity of a problem can be overwhelming. Change happens through small steps taken consistently. Focus on one small thing you can do differently and build momentum from there.
  3. Focus your efforts. Trying to focus on too many things at once is a sure way to get off track. Pick one area for change and work on it.
  4. Figure out your meaningful motive. Superficial reasons typically don’t result in sustainable change. Get clear about your “big why” for making a change and you will experience greater success.
  5. Get inspired. Motivation comes from within. Inspiration comes from others. Look for role models who are making the kind of change you’d like to make. If they can do it, you can too.


Laurel Vespi is a certified life coach, speaker and award winning author who ignites individuals to new levels of personal & professional change.