Wake up, grow up, clean up, show up – how to actually make a difference (instead of thinking about it)

Wake Up, Grow Up, Clean Up, Show Up How To Actually Make A Difference (instead Of Thinking About It) (2)

That’s the challenge. It’s easy to think about making a difference. It’s easy to wish you were making more difference. It’s easy to simply worry about the state of the world.

But none of that makes the difference you’re longing to make.

When I was younger I was very active in the environmental and development movements. I specialised in interviewing children for the BBC and was involved in several global events that brought children from all over the world to meet each other and global leaders to voice their concerns.

One of the things I learned through that experience, over many years of observing and struggling personally with the question of how to make more difference, is that worry, fear and threats just make things worse. It’s tempting to try to stimulate yourself into action by thinking about all the awful things that could happen if you don’t. It can give you a short-term kick, which rarely lasts for long, but ultimately you’re simply feeding the energy of fear and therefore creating more of what you’re afraid of. And that’s hardly the point.

Nowadays I have only one answer to the question, “How can I make more difference?” And that’s to be creative. I need to contribute to creating the world I want to live in, instead of worrying or complaining about the world as it is.

This is waking up. It’s letting go of being a victim of life, half asleep, doing whatever you feel you’re supposed to do to fit into someone else’s idea of what life is all about. It’s taking responsibility for yourself and your life and getting fully engaged.

It’s also growing up. If you want to be truly creative you need to develop your ability to solve problems and create new experiences. It involves a lot of learning and practising, failing and succeeding. It pushes you to connect with people, understand them and find ways to make life better for them as well as for you.

Creating is also cleaning up. If you’re full of negativity, whatever the source (childhood experiences, adult betrayals, past lives) it will get in the way of creativity. In order to create a world we’d love to inhabit, there’s a lot of cleaning up to do, physical and metaphysical, personal and global. It’s simply impossible to avoid this task, however daunting it appears.

And creating is a powerful way of showing up. You’re no longer saying I can’t do anything about this. You stop hiding. You stop carrying on as normal, hoping that someone will sort out the mess. You figure out that you can’t leave it to future generations to solve the problems, because it’s going to take as many people as possible who are willing to volunteer their spirit, energy, time and ability for the sake of creating a better world.

It sounds a little Utopian, but honestly, it’s just the way it works. You can contribute your energy to fear, worry or apathy and wait to see what happens. Or you can start to flex your creativity muscles and make the difference yourself.

The remarkable thing these days is that so many people are willing to help. Many of them are looking for an example to follow. Many of them are ready to do their little bit, which may just fit very nicely with your little bit. And when we all do our little bits we make a great jigsaw puzzle of a new world, and there’s just a chance that it could be really beautiful.

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