Mod F 2/17/02
“This I Believe”
When I was younger, I wanted to make the world a better place. I dreamed of changing the world by means of charity work, a career as a doctor or police officer, public speaking, politics, or even music. Over the years, I have realized just how difficult it is to change the world. In order to make even the slightest difference, one must have either extraordinary skill or extraordinary finances. Seeing as I will probably never have enough skill or money to change the world, I have instead focused my efforts on changing my world.
When I mention “my world,” I am referring to the world that I physically inhabit on a daily basis. This includes family, friends, neighbors, classmates, teachers, strangers, coworkers, and everyone else I encounter on a regular basis as well as the places I encounter them in. My world is not at all perfect. Similar to the world as a whole, my world contains shortcomings such as greed, immorality, hate, extreme passivity, and a range of other vices. I believe that it is my obligation to make this small sphere of my daily world the best place possible, for myself and for others. When I think of the possibility of changing the world, I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of effort and resources such a change would require. When I think of changing my world, I realize that it is completely possible with a little effort.
I can change my world by helping a younger sibling with homework, visiting an elderly neighbor, inspiring a child to pursue music, smiling and greeting a stranger at the bus stop, being there when a friend needs advice or comfort, and countless other small but meaningful ways. In short, I believe that I can change my personal world for the better through the way I choose to interact with it. This belief has carried over into how I live my everyday life. It includes doing things that aren’t easy or exciting such as unloading the dishwasher, cleaning my room, and keeping my temper when my four-year-old brother jumps on my head at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning and yells in my ear that I have to wake up. It entails welcoming the new kid, holding back an insult, standing up for the kid everyone makes fun of, and being patient with others.
Much of what I need to do to improve my world involves shifting my focus from myself to others. Self-centeredness is the ultimate cause of all vices. In order to improve my world I must put the well-being others before my personal desires. This is the most demanding struggle in my life, but it is also the most rewarding.
I believe in improving my world through my interactions with others. It is through this improvement that I may end up having an impact on the world as a whole. It is a nice thought, but I don’t expect it to happen. However, it is not impossible.
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