There is Hope

September 7, 2021

When we look around us and see the tragedies in our world, it can be easy to lose hope and feel powerless in one’s ability to change things for the better. Every time I turn on the news it seems like there is more bad news: the crisis in Afghanistan, devastation caused by wildfires and other natural disasters and the resurgence of the COVID pandemic. Certainly these big events seem too much for any one person to tackle in their totality yet this does mean we have no power to make a difference. We created these tragedies and whereas they have made their mark in history, we can change things for the better. It is easy to place blame, point out failures and give dissertation on what should have been done. The past cannot be erased and it can provide valuable lessons if we have an open mind to learn from our mistakes, yet what is more important is the movement to a course of action that creates better outcomes. Constant complaining and broadcasting of the “evils” is not ameliorating these problems. Yes we need information to bring awareness to important issues; then it is necessary to quickly shift to solution-oriented action steps.

So what is going to be your role in “fixing” our global illnesses? I believe the first step is to take personal responsibility. Your personal responsibility is two-fold. You must ask yourself what role did I personally have in the problem that needs to be fixed? It can be a sobering thought to think that you may be personally responsible for the death of someone who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The typical response to such a notion would be to “detach” and say this was an act of God. Hurricanes are naturally phenomena on this planet and I am not responsible for anyone’s death in a natural disaster. Sadly, this is a mindset that plagues our planet, especially in well-developed countries like the United States. Many people exist in their own little microcosm of reality. Beyond their circle of influence, other things do not exist, do not matter or cannot be changed from their perspective. Having a detached mental awareness creates a disconnection that gets us in the mess we are in. The truth is, if any behavior in which you are engaged impacts the planet through global warming, then you are partly responsible for the severity and frequency of severe weather events that kill people.

If bearing this kind of responsibility wears heavy on you, then you can enact the second part of personal responsibility. The second part of personal responsibility comes from the word itself. How are you going to respond to a problem or situation you find yourself in? As Sylvester Stallone says in the movie Rocky, “the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” Sometimes you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Even our children find themselves in a dismal world they had no part in creating and those with the power to make changes for the better do not have the collective will to do so. We must break free from the prison of our own selfishness and begin to act and behave in a way that seeks the good beyond our own self-gratification.

The power to be better, the power have better and the power to create a better world for ourselves and everyone else is real. It exists in you and me and in all of us living today. We only need to remember that it dwells inside us and is always available. Many of us live our lives as if the best of the world exists outside of ourselves: material possessions, money, awards, recognition and power. We go to great lengths to attain these things as if our lives depended on them. The truth is the best that you can ever achieve in life is to become the best version of yourself where you set the standard of what that looks like. There a lot of big problems facing our planet and our society. Each one of us needs to harness our personal power to express the best within ourselves to address these problems. In this way, despite the worst of its problems, we can create a world that reflects the best of humanity.

Michael W. Jackson