Can one person really change the world? Depending on who you ask, opinions vary, from the resounding “yes” to the disheartening “no.” But who is right? The answer might depend on the definition of the “world” that you’re trying to change. Often, we must look within ourselves, adjusting our thinking and our actions, in order to create external change.
Fear, self-doubt, and resistance to change can hinder anyone. But there’s always something you can do, no matter how small the action. After reading these 21 inspirational quotes about changing the world, you can decide for yourself how you, as one person, will choose to make a difference.
1. We must become the change we wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Ghandi
2. I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. – Mother Teresa
3. If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
4. A tiny change today brings a dramatically different tomorrow. – Richard Bach, One
5. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James
6. You really can change the world if you care enough. – Marian Wright Edelman
7. Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. – Leo Tolstoy
8. If there is no transformation inside of us, all the structural change in the world will have no impact on our institutions. – Peter Block
9. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
10. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela
11. You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. – Richard Buckminster Fuller
12. Seek the rapids, not the calm of the lake. Take the calm to reflect and prepare for the rapids. If we face permanent white water, we will see the need for and experience change. – Peter Vaille, Author
13. A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for. – Navy Admiral Grace Hopper
14. There is nothing more difficult to take in hand or more perilous to conduct…than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. – Niccolo Machiavelli
15. Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama
16. One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
17. Things remain the same because it is impossible to change very much without changing most of everything. – Ted Sizer, Educator and Author
18. I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change…I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back…. – Erica Jong
19. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
20. The likelihood that your acts of resistance cannot stop the injustice does not exempt you from acting in what you sincerely and reflectively hold to be the best interests of your community. – Susan Sontag, At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches
21. Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late. – Seth Godin