Thursday, May 09, 2013

Why "Be the Change That You Wish to See in the World” Really Works

be the change that you wish to see in the world

You've probably seen the Gandhi quote, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” somewhere. You might even have it tacked up on the wall of your office, or home.

Well, guess what? It really works.

Last week, I started a (free) Coursera class, Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence, which I'm loving.  One of the modules is about emotional contagion. Basically, how you feel and manage your feelings affects other people. If you go into work feeling sad, or angry, your co-workers may start to feel the same way. Even if you put on a happy face, if you're feeling down or discouraged inside, they will pick up on it.

In the same module, they talked about social contagion, which means that if you change your behavior, there is a good chance that someone you know will change his, or her behavior. Also, your behaviorial change has the potential to impact one of your friend's friends, or a member of her social network, even if you've never met him. There is also some evidence that your behavior change could influence behavior change three relationships out!

How cool is that?

So, let's all think about the change we'd like to see in the world, and figure out how our behavior can be part of the change. It will make a difference!


  1. So timely for me, Britt. I was recently inspired by some of the "happiness" talk going around these days. Time even devoted an issue to it. And I just polished off The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. There is so much in the happiness literature about getting back what you put out there and the effect it can have. Just a smile, an encouraging word, a refraining from being critical. Thanks for your thoughts -- that course sounds wonderful.

    1. I'm so glad the post resonated with you, Joanne. I hope all is well!

  2. I signed up for coursera!!! Awesome, awesome, awesome info. It's funny, I was looking to take classes online and they cost so much. This was I can submit the completion cert and it counts here in the Government!! Thanks for your blog and sharing.

    1. Hi Sumintra ~ Isn't Coursera amazing? So glad that you're able to take advantage of the *free* learning too.

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