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Don’t let them change you

The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to spend some time with one of Saipan’s successful entrepreneurs. As we toured the streets and byways, I was able to see the island through the eyes of a visionary. Empty lots spawned warehouses. Abandoned buildings became thriving enterprises. Eyesores transformed themselves into gems and landmarks.

As we shared our visions for the future, we pondered the practicality and soundness of investing time, energy and hopes into people and communities that often seem resistant at their best, and often hostile, at their worst. We asked ourselves, what drives the people who feel compelled to advocate change? What is the catalyst that keeps them striving when all around them offer resistance or complacency? And what is the reward that validates those strivings?

My friend asked me, “Would it not be better to give up what amounts to often futile efforts to change, and simply sail away into the sunset of personal happiness? To that query, I reply today: “My friend, you are here for a purpose. You are not here to conform to another’s perception of what you should or should not be doing. You have always been compelled to do what you do because of an inner drive that does not need outside validation in order to find its value and worth. In other words, ‘Don’t Let Them Change You.’

One-fifth of man will find ways to suppress the other four
that seems to be their purpose, nothing less, and nothing more
Your mission, on the other hand, is clear beyond all doubt
Despite what men may do, don’t let them change what you’re about

For happy men must smile, my friend, and gifted men must give
your purpose is to be the change you want the world to live
And activists and advocates must act and raise their voice
for only by example will you give the world a choice

At times you’ll think it futile and you’ll want to pack it in
When good men choose do nothing is all bad men need to win
For slow it seems a brick a day is how new worlds are made
But with each act of kindness is a new foundation laid

And those of us who comment on the flaws of one man’s way
must watch our words for so shall we create our world’s delay
The minute that you start to say "that’s just the way it is,"
you’ve lost hope in your world for now you’ve joined him there in his

The minute that they break you, friend, their side goes up by one
And you become the very thing you say you want undone
As Gandhi said, "an eye for eye leaves everyone quite blind."
Don’t let them douse your spirit, fire, beauty, gifts or mind!

And for those visionaries who find themselves in battle with adversaries: It’s been shown to some and believed by others that while mankind is essentially good, there is a contingent of about 20 percent (one-fifth) of the population who are here to wreak havoc on the other 80 percent (four-fifths). That small contingent tends to be more vocal in their resistance to positive change. Don’t let their ways and words blind you to the beauty, hope, kindness and caring that exist within mankind. Don’t adopt equally destructive or selfish ways of being in retaliation or simply to fit in. Maintain the beauty of your spirit, the kindness in your heart and the friendliness in your demeanor, and the hopefulness of your vision. There is no reality save for that which we accept and buy into. So it is only through your eyes that the world can see its kinder, gentler, more prosperous self.

Reciprocity is not a requirement for your conviction, any more than a mirror makes you who you are.

Maintain the reality of who you wish to be and soon your world will reflect and become you.

* * *

Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!


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