Donald Miller in his book Blue Like Jazz tells a story about once-upon-a-time attending a political protest rally with a friend he calls Andrew the Protestor, so named because he was always protesting something – anything, so it seemed. “When we were done [protesting],” Miller reflects, “I started wondering if we had accomplished anything. I started wondering whether we could actually change the world. I mean, of course we could – we could change our buying habits, elect socially conscious representatives and that sort of thing, but I honestly don’t believe we will be solving the greater human conflict with our efforts. The problem is not a certain type of legislation or even a certain politician; the problem is the same that it has always been. . . . I am the problem.”
“I think every conscious person,” Miller goes on, “every person who is awake to the functioning principles within his reality, has a moment where he stops blaming the problems in the world on group think, on humanity and authority, and starts to face himself. . . . The problem is not out there; the problem is the needy beast of a thing that lives in my chest.”
So here’s my New Year’s question for you – and for me. What would you like to be different in 2011? And I’m not talking about world peace, the politicians you may not like, or a cure for cancer. Neither am I referring to that pain-in-the-behind boss, coworker or neighbor we all wish would behave differently. Rather, what would you like to be different that is within your power to directly change or influence?
Donald Miller is right, you know. Every person needs to take a moment now and then where he stops blaming the problems of the world on others and starts to face himself; for it is in that moment when things begin to change, first within ourselves and eventually touching those around us – sometimes impacting people we don’t even realize. I am the problem, you see, but I can also be the solution – if I choose to be.
So what would you like to be different in 2011? And what’s the first step you need to take to make that happen?