You want to make a difference. But do you really know how to change the world by your example and not your opinion? Perhaps there’s a different question you need to ask. I came across this particular image or meme with this statement by Paulo-Coelho. It really got me thinking about the how and the why when it comes to living life and practicing what we preach. The statement isn’t the problem here. We all need to do things such as put our money where our mouth is while walking like a duck and not just quacking like a duck. We need to live life to the fullest without any restraints to our passions. Following our passions and lining up how we talk may not make us the richest or the most popular these days. I don’t doubt that leading by example passionately will at least get our friends to follow and support us. This is a whole other discussion. Anyway, here’s the meme that showed up in my feed recently:
From A Place of Forgiveness, Inspiration, or Bitterness?
Coelho is a celebrated author from Brazil. He was noted in the Guinness Book of Records for having literature translated into the highest number of languages around the world. He was raised by Catholic parents who saw no future in anything he put his hands to. He was placed in insane asylums during his teen years because of rebelling against his parents. Coelho eventually left everything behind and travelled around the world to find himself. While walking along the Road to Santiago de Compostela, he went through a spiritual awakening and wrote the book The Pilgrimage, an account his journey. As part of the journey he also dabbled in sex, drugs, and rock and roll during the hippie years. Coelho may have wrote about how his Catholic parents were religious on Sunday, but outside of that, were hypocrites from Monday to Saturday. His writing of the most famous quote shared on Facebook may come from a place of either forgiveness or bitterness. Or was it inspiration or rebellion? I’m addressing Paulo Coelho’s past because the memes of his quote are only shared with the intent of providing an opinion. As a result of the opinion shared, viewing the meme doesn’t provide a convincing call-to-action. That call-to-action needs an example of how to change the world by your example and not your opinion. In fact, that is the very irony of writing this post so far. You’re probably thinking, “why are you sharing an opinion that tells us to change the world by our examples and not our opinions? Why are you not doing it yourself? You’re part of the problem, you fool.” If you think that, you’re right. If you don’t think that, let me go into my thoughts a bit deeper.
Why I’m Part of the Problem
If there is one reason why I have a problem with changing the world by my example and not my opinion, it’s one word: passion. Now I’m not talk about “following your passion.” I’m talking about living out my example with passion. In one of the older blogs, I wrote a passionate rant about how Christians should be praying for the people who disagree with them. I actually did pray for people who disagreed with me at the time of writing the post. I hated every second of it. This makes me a bad Christian void of passion. Unfortunately, this is something I still struggle with today. As a result, I’ve decided to work on learning how to pray without feeling hatred, entitlement, or sounding like a what some would call a “bigot.” This may not be applicable in every case because this post only offers a conditional solution to fix the problem. There are times when people will need to practice what they preach without passion. You may need to clean up your dog’s crap even though you love your dog very much. You may need to cut distractions even though you really want to watch that TV show you’ve binged four seasons on. You may need to live more frugal even though you spend at least sixty dollars at a thrift store. These are things you don’t want to do. But do they need an opinion to be shared on social media with the intent of aggressive change to a reader’s confirmation bias? Unless you’re desperate to help a close friend or save a life, most likely not.
I Can Do Better
I’ve decided from here on if I’m going to try to change the world by my example and not my opinion, I have to push myself to a much higher standard. For example, instead of volunteering at a food bank and posting about how we need to do better at feeding the poor, I need to acknowledge that changing the world and sharing my opinion is not enough. I need to be sure in my heart that I love interacting, serving, and be-friending the poor. If I’m not passionately loving those who are poor or down-and-out, maybe volunteering at a food bank or sharing my opinions about the poor. Having a bad day is perfectly fine as long as many of those bad days don’t suck the passion out of our examples we want to live out.
Does Your Example Contain Passion?
That’s the question to ask. Can my example change the world if it’s an activity I do for my entire life which I hate? How much worse is it when I express an opinion of the example I live which I hate? Those are the questions you need to start asking yourself before sharing an opinion on social media that is based on the example you live out which you hate. Perhaps it’s time to decide to make some changes before sharing an opinion passionately. It may be time to take up a new hobby. It may be time to sell a few things you don’t need. It may be time to quit your job (make sure you’re in a comfortable place before doing this). It may be time to change your entire life. It may even be time to take a journey again so you can find out who you really need to be. Doing all this will lead you to a new way to change the world by living out your new example of doing something you love. As a result, you can share an opinion on what you’re doing because you’re passionate about your the example you live out that’s behind your opinion. So, do you really know how to change the world by your example and not your opinion after reading this? Passion may only offer half the solution to the problem in some cases. I’m just sharing the only microscopic piece of a very large pie that’s in front of me. Without passion for living out your example, making an effort to change the world by your example and not your opinion will be a complete disaster.