Way of Change

CWE’s “Change-Makers” was really inspired by a two sources.  One, was the teachings of Indian Philosopher and human rights activist Mahatma Gandhi.  His ideas about conquering hate and oppression with love and inner strength really resonated with me and I felt strongly like they aligned with the core of our organization’s mission to empower students to be confident leaders.  His “Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World” had a huge impact on the development of this program.

The other inspirational source was a self-empowerment “handbook” written by author Paulo Coelho called “Warrior of the Light.”  This book is full of short notes on accepting one’s life as a warrior’s journey and offers suggestions for a way of living that teaches us how to accept failure, embrace life for all that it is, and how to maximize one’s own inner strength and potential.

I decided recently that I’d like to put together several fundamentals of what it means to be “A Change-Maker.”  These are elements that describe one’s inner spirit and mettle, not their outward actions.  We highlight Change-Makers’ accomplishments and accolades, but we celebrate them for what those outward actions say about their true character.

12 Ways of The Change-Maker


#12.  A Change-Maker Doesn’t Allow Others to Suffer in Silence.

When a Change-Maker sees someone being wronged, hurt or persecuted they are compelled to take it upon themselves to be that person’s voice.  They will act directly and swiftly in coming to that person’s defense and never ask for anything in return.

#11.  A Change-Maker Understands the Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy. 

When a “Change-Maker” sees someone in pain or distress they do not feign understanding and put themselves at a distance.  Instead, a Change-Maker absorbs, appreciate, and wrestles with that pain or difficulty as if it were their own.  This compels them to change the situation for the better, even when other say it “shouldn’t matter to you this much.”  A Change-Maker doesn’t see helping others as a burden, but instead as a blessing.

#10.  A Change-Maker Always Chooses Love

Even when a Change-Maker sees others acting out of places of hate or ignorance they always challenge themselves to rise above and act differently.  A Change-Maker recognizes that when others act this way it is because they are afraid, angry, and alone.  A Change-Maker realizes that separation is the root of these feelings and acts and understands that love and connection are attributes of the strong.  A Change-Maker builds many more bridges with their lives than they break.

#9.  A Change-Maker Does Not Accept Pessimism

A Change-Maker feeds their own strength and the strength of others through a natural optimism and idealism.  Thus, they will not accept negativity around them.  They recognize how it drains their natural energy and will confront it harshly if needed.  A Change-Maker keenly recognizes the difference between a real victim and one who only sees themselves as such.

#8.  A Change-Maker Sees the Lessons in Everything

In good events and in bad, a Change-Maker is able to identify a valuable life lesson in all.  They see an opportunity for growth, change, and inner-improvement in everything that happens around or to them.  A Change-Maker recognizes that they are always learning new things — including about themselves — and embrace new knowledge openly.

#7.  A Change-Maker is More Critical of Themselves than They are of Others

A Change-Maker has far greater expectations of themselves than they do of others.  They are always seeking a greater understanding of themselves because they realize that it will help them to understand all others.  Thus, a Change-Maker isn’t blind to their own faults in any conflict and will only identify others’ missteps after carefully analyzing, articulating, and apologizing for their own.  A Change-Maker recognizes that no one grows strong all on their own.

#6.  A Change-Maker Seeks Their Own Approval not the Approval of Others

A Change-Maker is not guided by the acceptance or approval of others.  They quickly recognize and understand the motives of others around them and thus aren’t swayed by their opinions.  A Change-Maker’s standards are higher than any goals anyone else can set for them.  A Change-Maker always strives to do their best, and is disappointed in themselves when they do not.  The disappointment of others means little to a Change-Maker.

#5.  A Change-Maker Values the Counsel of Others but Not Above Their Own Instincts

A Change-Maker chooses their mentors and close friends carefully.  They value openness and transparency with these individuals and are the first to offer this, but they expect it to be given immediately in return.  This is because a Change-Maker believes in the virtues of balance and fairness.  They listen to those they respect and value their unique wisdom.  They factor the opinions of others into their decisions, but ultimately their final decision is one they own completely.  A Change-Maker enjoys being responsible for their own actions.

#4.  A Change-Maker Lets Their Actions Speak for Them

A Change-Maker is often reluctant to talk about themselves.  Very rarely will they talk about what they plan to do in the future.  This is because a Change-Maker realizes that talk often gets in the way of action.   While they always respect the past and are constantly hopeful about the future they focus primarily on what should be done right now.  A Change-Maker realizes that no matter what, others will define them the way they want to.  They cannot control others’ opinions, praises, or criticisms of them — all they can control are their own choices and actions.  A Change-Maker welcomes decisions and never shies away from making them.

#3.  A Change-Maker Does Not Force Their Beliefs on Others

A Change-Maker chooses their mission because they are unable to deny it.  Thus, they have very strong beliefs and are passionate about the causes that matter the most to them.  However, a Change-Maker does not force their beliefs on others nor do they attack the beliefs of others.  They recognize this as arrogance and insecurity; someone that is confident in themselves doesn’t need to boast about their beliefs.    A Change-Maker always treats others the way they wish to be treated.

#2.  A Change-Maker Respects Leadership

A Change-Maker never chooses to be a leader.  A Change-Maker realizes that leadership is always a distinction given by others.  That being said, when a Change-Maker is looked at to lead they accept the responsibility that comes with it humbly and wholly.  A Change-Maker often has doubts about their leadership.  They often worry about the needs of those that follow them and struggle deeply with the question “why do they follow me?”  However no one that follows them ever sees this doubt or struggle.  Within they fear that this doubt or struggle makes them weak, but they are wrong.  This inner-doubt is one of the qualities that makes them a great leader.  A Change-Maker is always humble and wholeheartedly accepts and respects the role of a leader, but they are never hungry for the power that comes with it.

#1.  A Change-Maker Believes in Themselves

A Change-Maker does what they do not for attention or accolade.  A Change-Maker is inspired to the work they do because they are fueled by helping others and making the world a more vibrant and positive place.  A Change-Maker would do what they do if no one paid them for it or if no one saw them doing it.  A Change-Maker believes in Following Their Bliss and inspiring others to do the same. They recognize that to get others to believe in themselves that they must be a worthy role model.  A Change-Maker is always generous with their spirit — they often care about others much more than they care about themselves.



If you think you know or are a Change-Maker than I want to know why.  Email us at changemakers@cweducation.com or visit our Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/cweducation) and share your story.

~ by Dan Fabrizio on March 28, 2012.

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