I wanted to change the world

When I was a young boy, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was too difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my country.

When I found I couldn’t change the country, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the country and I could indeed have changed the world.

Author: unknown monk around 1100 AD

I recently stumbled upon a profound story from an unknown monk, written around 1100 AD. The story resonated deeply with me and prompted me to reflect on my own ambitions and the path I’ve taken to make a difference in the world.

World globe holding in the hand with lots of flowers and trees
I wanted to change the world 2

The Desire to Change the World

The story’s sentiment is universal, as many of us harbor the desire to change the world. Like the young monk, I too once dreamed of grand changes and envisioned myself transforming society. The task seemed noble but quickly proved overwhelming and, at times, frustratingly futile.

Starting with the Self

The wisdom imparted by the old monk’s realization is a lesson that we often overlook. Change doesn’t have to start with grand gestures or revolutions. It begins within. If we focus on improving ourselves, we can influence those around us, our family, our community, and eventually, the world.

Practical Steps for Personal Change

This story has inspired me to take some concrete steps in my life. I’ve begun to look inward, questioning my beliefs, attitudes, and habits. The path towards self-improvement might include reading more, seeking guidance from mentors, or simply being more mindful of my daily actions. It’s a personal journey that requires introspection, patience, and determination.


The monk’s story is a reminder that the journey to change the world is neither short nor easy. It starts with self-discovery and personal growth. I now see that if I can change myself, I can indeed change my world. It’s an empowering realization that I hope you, dear reader, will also find inspiring and thought-provoking. Let’s embark on this journey together, knowing that change truly begins within.

If this helped you, it will help somebody else!

You've just read an article by Steven Webb —  Guiding you through the most difficult times. Here is a link to my podcast Stillness in the Storms and Inner Peace Meditations.

I write to arm you with resilience and inner wisdom, helping you find calm in life’s chaos. Follow me Medium or on substack.

Steven Webb host of Stillness in the Storms portrait picture

Steven Webb

Steven Webb is a renowned meditation teacher with over a decade of experience. Known for his unique approach to quieting the busy mind, Steven navigated through a life of adversity to find his own inner peace. Now, he shares his wisdom to help others build resilience and find tranquility even in life's most turbulent times. Through his writing, courses, and podcast "Stillness in the Storms," Steven empowers people to discover their own sanctuary of inner peace when they need it the most.
© 2023 Steven Webb - stevenwebb.com

Would you like to receive my weekly calm email?