I know I’m not the only person to have lived my entire life wanting to make a positive impact in the world. The thought of passively meandering through life without engaging, without being inquisitive to what’s around me, feels like non-living.
Last night I watched a television programme where Dara O Briain and Ed Byrne went on a road trip through Central America. In the three days they spent in El Salvador, thirty-six gang members were reported to have been killed. I did a double take and rewound Iplayer to make sure I’d heard correctly. Yep, thirty-six gang members killed in three days. To passively meander through life is to accept that this stuff happens and that that’s ok.
I’ve had peaks and troughs in terms of taking action on what I perceive as injustices in the world. But sometimes when I feel all fired up and ready and raring to change the world, it’s as if it gives my internal gremlins the opportunity to swoop in and say ‘hey, Hannah, why have you waited so long to do something about this, other people have been making positive changes for years. You’re so behind, you don’t have anything to bring.’
So what often happens is instead of acting with the fire in my belly, I shift over to gremlin territory. Fire in my belly allows me to be creative and think of new ideas, new approaches to problems, sparks of genius. Gremlin territory is grey, stuck, disempowered and flat.
I know that I’m not the only person to experience this interplay between internal fire and internal flatness. Each and every one of us has something we care about enough to get fired up about, but the real skill is in staying on purpose with that internal fire. Hanging out with the gremlins doesn’t change anything for the better, the status quo, the stifling systems in the world remain the same.
But to master the art of staying on purpose, staying with that internal fire is the key to changing the world for the better. I stay on purpose (as much as possible) by meditating every day, by being coached, by running, but reading/watching/listening to others who are on purpose. I am of course a work in progress. In my small way right now I know I am positively impacting the world. But I know that by staying on my purposeful path, in years to come the impact will be greater. I’ll be the woman, 40, who stayed on purpose and changed the world.