by Keith Paine

Have you turned on the news recently? It’s been especially brutal, and it seems relentless. What can any of us do about global terrorism, disease and war?

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.13.14 AMThe answer might be simpler than any of us would think: You can work on you. Wouldn’t your world be better if you’re better—in better shape, in a better frame of mind, making better decisions, building better relationships? Wouldn’t better relationships make your extended environment better as well?

If all this sounds a little bit unrealistic, keep in mind this old quote that keeps running through my head:

“Trying to change the world without changing yourself is like trying to wrap the world in leather instead of just putting on shoes.”

When Gandhi encouraged us to be the change we want to see in the world, maybe he’s giving us the most practical advice he could. Being better in our own lives is really is the only thing most of us can do.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.15.00 AMConsider the example of BKS Iyengar, the well-known yogi from India who recently passed away at the age of 95. He overcame severe sickness (malaria, tuberculosis, and influenza) as a child by practicing yoga. He started yoga simply to cure his own body. It was only later he became a teacher and eventually brought yoga asanas to the West, changing the world with his discipline and influencing countless teachers and practitioners.

Maybe all of us don’t have the reach of an icon like Sri Iyengar, but if you work to exercise your own power, you will be surprised at the effect you do have on other people and the world at large.