We Have to Go Back to Move Forward

how to make the world better

I heard a live version of Maybe Tomorrow yesterday. It’s one of my all-time favorite songs.

When Kelly Jones sang the first two words, the crowd went nuts. And within seconds, it began singing along with him.

I teared up a bit. I don’t tear up when I’m upset or while watching romance. But when I see instances of hope, courage, and unity, I do. And when the underdog wins. I didn’t tear up while watching The Notebook (I barely got through it). But my eyes welled up when Charlie Hunman pulled Excalibur out of the rock. You get the drift.

It felt wonderful to hear the crowd sing with Jones and let go of everything and just have a good time.

When was the last time we were a part of something special? When was the last time we let go of everything and did something just to enjoy it?

We do a lot more today than we did earlier, but for different reasons.

For one, we talk more. But the intent is to get validated by people who agree with us and to take a stab at people who don’t, rather than to communicate.

We participate in competitions we haven’t prepared for. The intent is not to test and stretch our limits. It’s to click a photo at the finish line so we can post it with the #IAmAWinner hashtag.

We eat out and travel more. But it’s less to enjoy ourselves and more to post photos and critical “reviews,” and appear better than the Joneses.

All this makes us feel good (even superior) in the short term. But it does nothing to quell the nagging anxiety, anger, and emptiness we feel inside.

The joy has gone out of our lives. Where do we go from here?

Going Back to The Future

Maybe we need to hit the rewind button. Maybe we need to go back to go forward.

See, we’re social animals, which means we’re better at doing things with people, not against them.

Things are bad. Very bad. But they won’t change unless we do. So let’s change our actions and the reasons behind them.

Let’s have long face-to-face conversations with friends instead of posting long threads on Twitter. We’ll talk more about ourselves and each other. We’ll become mindful of our words and of the other person’s feelings.

Let’s see a new place through our own eyes rather than through a seven-inch screen. Let’s spend more time soaking up experiences than choosing hashtags and filters on Instagram. Let’s store more happy memories in our minds than in our smartphones.

Let’s make life about experiencing more than doing. Let’s allow our experiences to go deep enough to change something within us. Let’s put away our devices and rigid beliefs, and open our minds to the wonders of the world.

Let’s slow down and do things just to feel happy. You never know how doing something you enjoy could impact others. You could sing a song that makes someone in another part of the world tear up. You can write that makes someone on the other side of the globe put down the gun and pick up a pen.

This might sound ridiculous at a time when everything appears to be falling apart. But it’s also true.

“Not much will change unless we let it,” Niklas Göke wrote. “The world can take a lot from us, but our minds only we can surrender.”

The world has changed because we’ve changed. It can go back to the good old days if we put the effort to behave as we did in the good old days—being kind rather than being right.

We are the only people who can bring back the joy in our lives and the world. Let’s live, truly live, in the present moment. It’s all we have. And what we make of it is up to us.

Do you think we can succeed in making the world a place we want it to be? I would love to hear your thoughts. Do leave a comment.

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