CHANGE THE WORLD
Would you change your life?
Could you do what’s right?
If we could change
The way that we live
We could change the world
All it takes is time
An altered state of mind
But if we look
The other way
It may be too late
Will you do all that it takes?
Would you try and fix the mistakes?
Won’t you…change your mind?
We could change the world
If we wanted to
If we don’t change the way that we live
It may be too late
I hope we’re not too late!
Will you try and open your eyes?
You’re so blind, you just don’t even try
Can’t you…see the light?
We could change the world
If we wanted to
If we don’t change the way that we are
It may be too late
I hope we’re not too late!
The only constant in life is change. Good or bad, happy or sad, change is going to happen. Or is it?
Take a moment to reflect on your life. Has it remained the same for years and years, absent of any change? If the answer to that question is yes, then, think again. Or maybe you need to go back further in time. I would bet a buck that even the most seemingly mundane lives have had their share of change—hopefully, change for the better. But I know from experience that not all change is ever all good, or happy, or even welcome, at times.
My response to all of the above can be summed up in one word: Life. Life is change. To live a stagnant life is no life at all, certainly not living your life to its fullest. A life without constant change, either good or bad, is not a life in motion, not an alive existence. Not a complete, fulfilled, eventful way to live.
Once we begin to understand change and accept its inevitability—that it is often unavoidable, as well as mandatory if your goal is to evolve as a person—only then can we begin to focus on how we can better manage those changes.
The title of this book, “We Could Change the World…If We Wanted To,” is also the title of a song I wrote. Those lyrics open this book. I never come right out and state what exactly it is I am suggesting we change. I purposely wrote those lyrics that way. Why? Because I did not want my audience to focus on any one specific area that needs to be changed, but rather open their minds to all of the changes that we need to consider, if we want to change the world for the better.
Some people may claim that the reason I don’t mention specific areas of needed change is because too many of them appear to be impossible tasks to overcome. That is far from the case.
In the video I produced for the song, I flash dozens of images that purport many of the severe problems afflicting our lives that I feel not only need to be changed, but can be changed. Who in their right and just mind could ever argue that the world would not be a better place if, through change, we eventually eliminated or overcome problems like:
- global warming
- political indifference
- insufficient healthcare
The list is never-ending—feel free to add whatever injustice or inhumane condition or concern that you feel needs to be changed, because it is your list. Your world. Your life. Our list. Our world. Our life.
Bringing me back to what my song, video, and this book, is really all about:
Change begins with you, with each and every one of us. It’s about taking personal accountability for all of our actions, every day of our lives.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? No? It doesn’t?
What’s that? You think it sounds a bit impossible?
Let me tell you a bit about myself, and all of the often brutal, sad, necessary, and unavoidable changes I’ve suffered through, overcome, and embraced throughout my fifty-plus years of life. Several years ago, during one particularly challenging period in my life, I dealt with the following changes:
- I got divorced
- My father passed away
- My son moved over 2000 miles away to live with my ex-wife
- I filled for personal bankruptcy
- I met another future ex-wife, became involved in a turbulent, violent, and alcoholic relationship, which eventually led to…
- Another divorce
- My drinking got out of hand
- I was clinically depressed
- My health was deteriorating—high blood pressure, dangerous glucose and cholesterol levels, seriously over weight
- I was unhappy with my job, career, and life
- I was downsized from my job
Just about all of these changes were thrust upon me over the course of a few years, back in the early 1990’s—many of them were not self-created, but everyday adversities that life throws at you from time to time. Though several I created myself, through neglect, abuse, apathy, and weakness. Needless to say, this was a turning point in my life. The way I reacted to these changes, some potentially devastating, would shape the rest of my years. I was only in my thirties, still a relatively young man, with the majority of his adult life ahead of him. What if I never overcame the loss of my father or the separation from my son? Or what if I allowed alcohol to overwhelm me? I just as easily could have given up and drank or eaten or depressed myself to death (as far too many contemporaries of mine have since done). I was facing mental, physical, and spiritual self-destruction. So what did I do?
I CHANGED! FOR THE BETTER!
Often change is thrust upon us unannounced and uninvited, without a whisper of advance notice. We all have experienced this at one time or another; it’s often unavoidable. But what I consider an all too often tragic flaw is not embracing change, dealing with change, making sure that while you may have been dealt some terrible cards, you still are in the game. That game called your life. Those changes are the events of your life. Like them or not, they are a part of your life that shapes and changes you, helps you grow and become the person you are eventually destined to be.
So, what did I do to embrace and overcome all of the seemingly horrific changes in my life? I stopped drinking, sat down and discussed my problems and feelings with a therapist. I found the strength and motivation to start exercising and eating better. I took some time off from my job to soul-search, which added to my healing. During that time I traveled across the country to reacquaint myself with my son and to visit my father’s grave. I could feel myself changing, healing, growing. I spent months reinventing myself; fixing myself. Eventually, I became a different person, a new man.
I returned to work healthy, happy, dozens of pounds lighter, booze-free, and with a new fire in my belly.
This all happened, by the way, as a direct result of how I reacted to the changes, many of them challenging and debilitating, which befell my life.
After months and months of doing nothing but working on myself, reconstructing the new me, I met a wonderful woman by chance. I wasn’t looking, barely dating. But she was “the one,” my future soul-mate. We’ve been together ever since, still are happily in love and married. A woman, by the way, with whom I would never have had a chance had I not embraced the negative changes that occurred in my life and corrected them.
Almost twenty years later, I am still doing well, still incorporating several of the healthy lifestyle changes that I embraced way back when, and still facing lots more change. Why?
Because change is life.
Life is change.
And it is up to us, each and every one of us, to make the best of our lives and all the changes that makes it so unique, painful, exhilarating, maddening, amazing, sad, happy; all those things that happen every day that make life life. But also to do what we all need to do to understand, except, and embrace change.
Bringing me all back to what this book, song, video, and our lives, are all about:
Change begins with understanding and acknowledging that a problem exists. To be able to resolve an issue, big or small, one has to admit, recognize, agree, establish, and determine that something needs changing.
I chose obesity as a starting point because of all the many problems facing the world today, overcoming overeating, as difficult as it seems, is something I feel we could change…if we really wanted to. And it begins not only with you and me, but with parents, teachers, politicians, world leaders, restaurants, school cafeterias, governments, fast foods, labels, packaging…all that, but, really, starting with you.
First some sad facts:
- over 20% of children in the United States ages six to eleven are now considered obese, which is weighing over 30% of one’s ideal body weight
- over one billion of all human beings on the planet are overweight—300 million considered clinically obese
- obesity and excessive weight problems account for over 200 billion dollars in unnecessary healthcare costs—annually—in the United States alone!
- Obesity and being overweight can lead to:
The list goes on, while too many of us continue to gain weight. The only goods news is: we can change this, if we want to! I mean, really want to.
To help change an overweight and obese world, we have to start with each one of us doing all that we can, taking personal accountability and responsibility at better managing our daily lives. It starts with diet, nutritional awareness and education. My website, livelife365.com, can help, but so can hundreds of others. This book can help, too. Here are some other ways you can change:
- Count your calories (keep a daily log of everything you consume)
- Make your calories count (eliminate saturated fats and excessive carbohydrates, and empty calories and replace them with well-balanced, nutritious meals)
- Burn 3500 more calories than you ingest and you will lose one pound—guaranteed!
- Walk. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day
- Run. Shoot for at least three days a week
- Exercise, as often as you can (please consult your medical professional first)
- Become a vegetarian (beside helping reduce your saturated fats, carbohydrates, sodium, and calories, this lifestyle choice also helps change the world in other ways)
- Add more fiber (fruits and veggies, nuts and beans, whole grains) to your diet
- Set an example for your children by preparing healthy, low caloric meals, exercising, and limiting snacking
- Petition your school districts to make sure that school lunches are healthy, nutritious, and affordable
- Eliminate fast food and unhealthy vending machine food in schools, businesses, and all government buildings
- Encourage your family to participate in more healthy, outdoor activities—turn that TV off!
- Insist that all eating establishments include nutritional information on their menus, eliminate trans fats, and offer vegetarian, vegan, and low-caloric options
- Boycott any eating establishment that offers unhealthy, fattening food choices
- Penalize obese and overweight workers who refuse to take personal accountability for contributing to the overwhelming costs of healthcare. I’m not picking on these people, only offering incentives that will help extend their lives and lower escalating healthcare costs
- Conversely, offer insurance and healthcare discounts for those who are actively working on their weight and health improvement issues and fall within established weight limits
- Offer government incentives and tax breaks for being in shape and within the established weight; also do this for non-smokers
- Conversely, establish an overweight tax for those who refuse to take personal accountability for an ongoing problem, or at least refuse to take steps toward change
Believe me, my heart goes out to anyone who has ever tried to lose weight; I understand firsthand how challenging this is. But all I ask is that you try, look yourself in the mirror and be brutally honest: “Are you doing everything in your power to live a healthier life, eat better, watch your caloric intake, while contributing to the betterment of mankind?”
I have outlined several ways we can change the world by reducing and eventually eliminating the physical, spiritual, financial, and psychological impact caused by being obese. All of my solutions have one common element—they all being with you!
All it takes is that first step, an idea, a desire, a reason and you can eventually change your life, which can and will, eventually, change the world.
“We need to change ourselves before we can change the world.”
~ Mike Foster
But what about the larger issues facing us? War, terrorism, hunger, racism? How can we change ourselves and in turn change all of those overwhelming, larger-scale problems?
One answer is: LIFE. Living life.
The slogan on my website, livelife365.com, is:
“Live Life Every Day in Every Way!”
To me, that means that you should never waste a day, should always strive to do something more each day. Learn something new, try something different, do your best to make each day better than the one you just completed.
I like to say, “Your life is like a novel, make it a good one.”
I am an avid reader and collector of books—all types, every genre imaginable! I read every day; I make it a habit—a good habit. But not every book I pick up is a good one. I also like to say, “Life is too short to read bad books!” If a book doesn’t grab me, make me think or laugh or weep or hold my attention; if it doesn’t make me want to turn the page, dying to see what magic is waiting for me on the next page, I do not consider that a good book, a book worthy of consuming my precious time. Being a writer, my heart goes out to the author of any book that, for me, fails to captivate or entertain, but I still will put that book aside and grab another.
Now, compare this scenario with life—your life!—using each page of your novel as a day in your life. If your life is a good book, it should be well worth reading; it should make you, or anyone else, want to turn that page. Want to wake up and start another incredible day because you can’t wait to see what that new day has to offer. You can’t wait to learn something new, share a laugh, enjoy the company of good or new friends, family, and sometimes complete strangers.
If you are truly living your life every day in every way—365!—then you are living a full, purposeful, exciting, important, romantic, interesting, demanding, energetic, spiritual, intellectual, physical, complete life.
Which brings me back to CHANGE.
If your life is precious—and there’s no reason why is should ever be anything less—then you do not want to waste it or ever take it for granted. We are only here for a short period of time, only have one life—why would we ever not cherish each day and strive to make the world in which we live as special as that life?
If we live in a world that has so many problems and do not try to do everything in our power, all that we can, to work on fixing those problems, then it is, to me, the same as wasting your life.
The good news is: We can do both!
You can change your life for the better, making that novel that much more worthwhile and complete. And by doing that, taking it a step further, by working on changing certain areas of your own life, you can also change the world.
By changing yourself.
Neil Armstrong, over forty years ago as he became the first person to set foot on the moon, said:
“That’s one small step for a man, but one giant leap for mankind.”
One step at a time, small, baby steps, at times, can accomplish giant results.
That, in a nutshell, is what this book is about; what my song and video are about: Taking those small steps, each of us. Practicing personal accountability. Sharing global responsibility. Offering solutions instead of problems. Setting examples. Being better parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, children, friends, coworkers, car drivers, movie-goers, restaurant eaters, people, volunteers, leaders, followers, managers, voters, workers, teachers, human beings. Doing whatever it takes to change the world…for the better.
Before it’s too late.