Some days it’s hard to know if anything we do is significant, to allow our moments of doubt to bring us down. It helps to learn from those who know what it’s like to dare to present a new vision for the world.
‘Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it,’ remarks Barack Obama. ‘But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it Harden and shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.’
Mahatma Ghandi, who stood up to the injustices of a mighty empire counselled that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. How we choose to bring about change is fundamental. ‘An eye for an eye,’ Ghandi reminded us, ‘only ends up making the whole world blind’. Non-violence takes immense courage, but Ghandi more than lived up to his observation that in a gentle way we can shake the world.
Perhaps what we’re trying to express here is best summed up by the prayer Mother Theresa kept on her wall in Calcutta.
People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centred. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and since people may deceive you. Be sincere anyway. When you spend years creating others could destroy it. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. Give the best you have and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.