Whether you follow it or not, it is almost inevitable you have been told that if there is anyone to look out for, it is number one. (“Number one” of course being yourself.) In today’s über-competitive atmosphere of the U.S, remarks that might have seemed selfish like such are now beginning to seem more practical. With the invention of ultra-fast forms of communication like social networks and text messaging, people are always on the move with barely enough time to themselves if they want to stay ahead of the game.
This applies to any area of life, whether it be work, school, even social interactions. With barely enough time even for ourselves, how are people today expected to continue worrying about others? The difficult truth in today’s world is that while this kind of thinking may be very efficient in setting up success in an individual’s life, it simply is not a convenience we can not afford in the global scheme of things. Now look, this is not some set up for a Sarah McLachlan-esc “donate now” campaign. It is not about spending money or even living completely selflessly, just simply thinking long-term going into the future.
If there is anything a modern student has learned, it is that they must constantly be thinking about the future and long-term goals, as thoughts of college often are forced into our minds before even hitting high school (and usually with good reason.) This concept extends into all aspects of life: for example the current “energy crisis” hitting the world. Current solutions include tapping into natural gas resources, or using national oil reserves. In reality, these solutions are short term and instantly gratifying at best. Another example would be the United States’ economy; too many think the solution to fixing an aggressively up-hill battle for anyone who is not the infamous “one percent” lies in simply closing the borders, or fixing tax rates.
These “solutions” of instant gratification may be comforting to most of us, but ultimately they are setting the world up for failure. Start with a weak foundation, and eventually everything above that will collapse. In the current state of the world no one can afford to take short cuts, as there is no longer anyone else to pick up the slack. No one can get off the bus, we are all in this together, whether we like it or not. So what is to take away from this? What can a single person do to change things for the better?
The simple answer is to take action, and REALLY take action. The only reason people do not want to embrace change for tomorrow is because it asks something of them today, and it is just this mentality that has put the world in the first place. Simply put: the next time you have a chance to make an impact, no matter how small, take it. It will go a long way in saving the world’s tomorrow.