On learning from life’s cliches….

“Be the change you want to see.”

It sounds so idyllic, so cliche, so positively obnoxious. I heard that quote on the radio the other day during an ad for a university.

It’s true though, isn’t it? And in so many ways.

We can all think of ways where this statment applies to either our lives or the world at large. Most often, we think of it in the context of changing our world for the better…treating people with the kindness we desire, volunteering at homeless shelters, teaching (which, frankly, is one of the most noble professions I can think of).

Recently, however, I’ve been putting that statement into the context of the day-to-day work life. I have a penchant for proper formatting. Correct grammar and punctuation are a bit of an obsession for me. Aesthetically pleasing and industry-accurate documents are the only kinds I want to send to my clients. The problem is that there aren’t a lot of standarized documents to be had…so I’ve created them. Most at the request of my boss several years ago, but many of them I’ve just done for the sake of consistency across documents. Everything should have the same (or at least a similar) header/footer, right?

Well, I think so. So I went ahead and became the change I wanted to see. And now? My boss actually digs the majority of my documents and things are slowly, but surely, being standarized…something I’ve been itching for, for a LONG time.

Within “Be the change you want to see” is also the idea of simple initiative. It’s a little like the idea of “asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission.” Now, in no way am I suggesting that we should all go ahead and change companies, lives, and the world without a thought for the consequences (good or bad). What I mean is that, more often than not, people are looking for a solution, not just a complaint. So rather than complaining tirelessly about how so much the formatting is wrong or the grammar is off or the documents aren’t attractive enough, my co-worker and I just fixed them and went to our boss with a solution. Something tangible that could actually be taken care of…quickly and easily.

How many times can any of us count that we’ve complained and complained about something, only to have it remain the same? If we came to our own selves with nothing but complaints and never a solution, the CEO in me would yell at me, “Quit bitching and DO something!”

So here we go,everyone…let’s do something!
Is there something in your life that causes you to whine incessantly? How can you be the change?

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