"I don't do this work to change the world, I do it so the world doesn't change me."
-- A. J. Muste
Sometimes when you're involved in an idealistic crusade, you get wrapped up in your cause and lose perspective. If this happens, it's important to step back to better understand your motivations. Be honest with yourself: genocide, toxic waste and the AIDS epidemic are serious issue -- but at a deeper level, they're opportunities for personal growth. While it may seem that sacrifice in the name of a greater goal is noble and selfless, deep down it's really about egoism -- in the best sense of the word. In your attempt to change the world, you take control of how the world changes you. You're doing what you need to do to become who you want to be. So instead of laying self-righteous guilt-trips on those who stay aloof and apathetic, admit that you're in this for yourself. Then, with a clear conscience, you can approach any of your cynical, self-absorbed friends and invite them to be in it for themselves, too.
Toxic sludge can help me become a better person.
Reprinted with permission from "Daily Afflictions" by Andrew Boyd, published by W.W. Norton. To order a copy, click here