Gandhi talked about “obtaining reform by growth from within, which is obtained by self-suffering and self-purification” (Iyer, 1990: 90). Jesus said, “Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s” (Luke, 6:42). Martin Luther King, Jr. described the courage necessary to take a stand – “I am taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter” (King, 1986: 509).
Each of these change agents understood that self-change precedes changing others. Why is this so?
We create the world in which we live. Over time we make assumptions, develop words, categories and concepts. In short we develop a cognitive image of reality. Once we develop the image, we see speak and act according to the image. We thus keep reinforcing the image. When we self-purify, cast the beam from our own eye, exercise the courage to live with increased integrity, we create a better self and we see a better world. We have new images. We act in elevated ways. As we do we tend to be stunned at the potential we suddenly see in the situations and people that surround us. We act on the potential and it is then transformed into reality. We become people of transformational influence.
With which of the above quotes do I most agree?
What do I believe about self-change?
How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?