7 Steps To Start Your Revolution: Tips for Everyday Changemakers

September 10, 2017

What’s stopping you?

MLK Jr, Joan of Arc, Mandela, Gandhi – Revolutionaries risen to such great heights that you and I could never even aspire to such impact. So why bother? We are not them.

Except, like you and I, Gandhi got head-colds. Joan of Arc went through puberty. Mandela fought with his wife, and MLK Jr consumed too much caffeine.

There’s a danger of placing people on pedestals. Take back responsibility – start your revolution today.

1. Start small

Do you feel like an ant, balanced on an Earth-sized cocktail glass of catastrophe, completely unsure where to begin?

We don’t blame you, but here’s the thing – You don’t have to fix everything. In fact, you can’t. So start small. Pick one area you really care about, figure out how to make the most impact, and begin there.

For stories of everyday changemakers who transformed their lives for a purpose, see Jacqueline Novogratz’s TED talk: Inspiring a Life of Immersion.

2. Get informed (via balanced sources)

It’s the age of information and ‘facts’ are flying in all directions like misfired missiles. You have two choices – be a casualty of fake news and fear-mongering, or get informed. It’s a no-brainer. If you’re going to do battle, you better have your facts straight, so read widely and read critically. Be aware that some sources have biases, reflective of their financial or political affiliations. Get some tips via Michael Patrick Lynch’s talk, How to see past your own experience and find truth, and remember, we humans believe strange things sometimes, so question everything.

3. Be a conscious consumer and invest in progress

Want to make an impact fast? Put your money where your mouth is and start with your groceries. As a consumer, you get to decide who gets your cash, and this puts you in a position of power. Do your research (we recommend Shop Ethical) and find out whether the brands you use line up with your values. By investing in companies that have a measurable economic, social and environmental impact, you can do your groceries, support worthy causes, and send a message to the consumer market, all at the same time. But don’t stop there! Apply this process when choosing where to bank, buy insurance, and even invest your super.

For more ideas, check out Audrey Choi’s TED talk: How to Make a Profit While Making a Difference.

4. Green is the new black

Doing your weekly recycling and think you’ve ticked your environmental care box? Think again.  New research by Swedish and Australian scientists reveals that ‘humans are driving the warming of the earth 170 times faster than natural forces.’

Good news is, there are tons of ways you can reduce your environmental impact, starting with cutting down on plastic, taking shorter showers, buying the ‘ugly’ fruit, and reducing the amount of meat you eat. Invest in renewables, switch to solar, and get a household assessment to find out how to reduce your carbon footprint. The clock is ticking.

Want to know how much food we’re throwing out every day? Check out Tristram Stuart on The Global Food Waste Scandal.

5. Be aware of your own biases

One of the greatest dividing factors in the world is fear of difference. Though we like to think we’re open minded, we all hold some level of bias that informs how we treat others.

Verna Myers suggests that in order to overcome our biases, we must walk boldly toward them. Consider your own unconscious prejudices and how they impact your relationships.

Recognise that the way we talk to, and about, each other, is crucial. Notice the places in your personal and professional life where exclusion is occurring and commit to addressing this. As Reni Eddo-Lodge says, ‘we all have a stake in this, so be a collaborator.’

6. Have those difficult conversations

You know the ones we mean. The conversations that feel like a physical conflict, a white-knuckled face-off between two sides of what is ‘right’. It’s easy to shout, judge and blame. To begin a battle of who can yell the loudest.

If you really want to make a change, first make a commitment to listening. Listen to people you disagree with and people you don’t understand. Find out where they’re coming from.

They might not listen to you. They might not change their mind. But no one ever brought someone over to their side by battering them about the head with a viewpoint. Be a rebel and give connection a go.

Unconvinced? Check out Jonas Gahr Store’s  In Defence of Dialogue.

7. Get off your pedestal of perfection and practice self-care

Let’s start with four facts:

  1. Fighting for change is hard
  2. Being informed can be exhausting
  3. Practicing restraint and compassion with hateful people (even when you really want to deck them) can be enough to make you hurl your stapler across the room
  4. If your proverbial well is empty, you are not in a position to give to others

It’s no longer the 1930s and stoicism as a way of life is practically antique. Grow your resilience, pick your battles and know your limits. You don’t have to do everything and you don’t have to save everyone. Some days you’re going to keep fighting. Other days, you might just need to grab that chocolate bar, boil the kettle and check out Guy Wincher’s tips for practicing emotional first aid. On those days, know that we’ve got your back.

Change starts small. What’s important is that you begin. Grab your ticket to our main event on 19th September – Rebels, Revolutionaries and Us, and start your revolution today.