January 28th, 2011

Every year, around this time, we make small goals for how we can improve our lives. This comes after the biggest annual season of giving, so we lightheartedly commit to these “resolutions.” Well, the first decade of the new millennium has just ended. If you haven’t realized that yet, now you do.

The world is a different place than it was just ten years ago. That’s why, unlike most weeks, I am not issuing a call to action; rather, I am issuing a call to resolution. When you think about your future, broaden your horizons. Think about your long term goals.

Our new years’ resolutions traditionally have a very narrow scope. They follow a formula designed for self-improvement “Last year, I was bad at X. This year, I will change X so that I can be a better person.” Unfortunately, this egocentric formula excludes a very important part of our lives the “everyone else” part.

Of course it is always important to make sure that you have your own life in order before crusading for humanity; but once you have sufficiently reveled in your own potential, think about how you can affect the world.

Most major things in our world were orchestrations of one single person. Facebook, for better or worse, was the brainchild of one person. The most horrifying terrorist attacks have also been the legacy of individuals. If you commit yourself to action, if you resolve to be the best that you can be for the world, then there is nothing you cannot change. There is no better place to do this than right here at JCU.

Naturally, there will be obstacles along the way, and the only way to hurdle them is with the help of others. So take a friend, or make a friend. Accept your helpers into your life and make them a part of your mission.

There are countless ways to change the world without even leaving campus. But, the boundaries of our cozy University Heights campus don’t bind you. Go to downtown Cleveland; go to St. Louis; go to Africa. Wherever you feel that you can make the biggest difference, go there and be that difference.

So here is the revised formula that I am proposing. It isn’t a replacement for the one above, but perhaps an addendum to it. “Last year, I noticed that the world was bad at X. This year, I will take these steps to change X so that the world can be a better place.”

With this sentiment at heart, I bid you to step outside of your comfort zone. Make yourself a part of the next decade and resolve to act.

In short, people have loved and people have lost. And when it comes down to it, all this has happened because of individuals being themselves. Now that this period of contemplation and resolution is upon us, it’s up to you to decide how to use it. So in the words of St. Ignatius, “Go forth, and set the world on fire.”