I’m moving a couple steps back in my goals. I’ve been taught that starting with too ambitious goals is not a good idea. But I have the problem that I only really care about the big ones. I’ll be honest about why I want to learn Farsi and write a blog: I want to change the world.
Now I hear the voices I mentioned: it’s not going to change the world. I have to come back and say that some people changed the world through actions: Rosa Parks by not standing up, Gandhi by his hunger strike, Jesus by remaining silent before his accusers. The action itself does not change the world, but the way the action fits into a larger scheme.
So I understand that I have to narrow things down to a single action I can take today. How does one action today change the world? Gandhi had to skip a meal to start a strike.
I aim to change the way that people in the world relate to each other, that they may become smarter and more sympathetic. I narrow this down: I want to focus on Americans, since I am an American, and I want to affect how Americans relate to non-Americans. I can be even more specific: I want Americans to learn to listen to non-Americans, which I believe will allow Americans to become smarter about what is going on around them and more understanding and sympathetic to what others are going through. The entrance into this practice of listening begins with learning the language(s) of others. I will begin by learning Farsi, and I will teach others how to learn languages so they can become more intelligent and sympathetic.
This helps me with my goals for this day, this week. I will work on learning Farsi and getting the word out about the necessity–a bold word to use–of learning languages. By planning my studies, by making flash cards, by listening to a CD, I will learn more. These are the first steps to knowing Farsi, connecting to Persians, making new relationships, moving outside myself. I may not be Rosa Parks or Gandhi, but I will do my part today. Is there a way your “thinking big” can translate into a concrete action today?