I didn't get a harrumph outta that guy.
I didn’t get a harrumph outta that guy!

Poke around the ‘net for more than a few minutes and you’ll find plenty of blogs, pictures with inspirational text, tweets, and statuses, telling you how you have the power  to change the world.

I’m not here to debunk that. Absolutely not. I believe you do have that power and if we disagree on anything, it’s probably about scope. But that’s a different conversation.

However, I do think that changing the world does start with a proper mindset. You have to set your mind on what you want to create. It can’t be about what you want to destroy. This might sound a little woo-like for me, but I actually have some practical reasoning behind it.

Changing just about anything more all-encompassing than your sheets requires cooperation from other people. You can get people to buy in to negative cause for a while but it’s not a sustainable, world-changing strategy. Hating things is tiring, and when the hate doesn’t translate to action it’s easy to throw up your hands and give up. Or redirect the hate in a different direction.

Witness the U.S. election cycle for the past few decades. It’s up-and-down, back and forth. Someone wins with a negative message, rules one of the roosts for a bit, gets little done because there is no one to work with, and then gets knocked off the roost by the other group’s negative message. Repeat until we are frozen in a struggle…to destroy the other guy while getting nothing else done.

There’s another, more dangerous, reason why an endeavor based on destruction is doomed to fail. When you base your effort on stopping the other guy there’s a tendency for everyone to become the other guy. Even your allies.

History is rife with examples of this happening. Pick any religion and look at the different sects and how and why they were formed. Look at the current state of any political party that is in the minority.

If you are a dog trainer, take a look at young dog trainer’s group whose raison d’etre is a list of things they don’t approve of and the internal strife that they are currently suffering. They won’t be the first group founded on similar principles that will ultimately slide into obscurity after turning on themselves. It’s all about the foundation.

If you want to change the world you need to be for something. On the surface it may seem like a word game, but when it comes time to find and collaborate with other people, it just might be the only common ground you have – or need.