I don’t know anything about politics.
For years and years, whenever someone spoke about politics, asked me about politics or uttered the word politics, my standard response would be, I don’t know anything about politics. As if admitting my ignorance about politics excused my ignorance about politics.
But it has come to my attention that that isn’t good enough.
Recently, my mate Kim (of ‘my mate Kim’ fame for those of you who have been playing along at home) decided she had had enough of watching from the sidelines as politics imploded around us. For months my friends and I have been joking that Kim should be PM. Oh how we laughed. Until what we saw spewing forth from Australian politics began to look even more ridiculous than Kim being PM.
And so in a brave move born from passion, vision and a genuine desire to stand up for what she believes in, my mate Kim is running for a seat in the upcoming federal election. Now, I’m not about to do the same because really guys, I don’t know anything about politics but Kim’s act of courage got me thinking about how in the past, I have been nothing but irresponsible with my vote, randomly numbering boxes based on how cute a name sounded, letting my internal dialogue of “what difference will I make anyway?” “it’s too broken to fix” and my personal favourite “someone else will take care of it”, excuse me.
But that’s not good enough. Because this is what I do know; it’s all a little fu@cked over here in Australia and as for the UK, well, I don’t know how to finish this sentence.
Now I can sit in an uproar about ‘the state of things’, hiding smugly in the vindication of “I don’t know anything about politics” whilst quietly (loudly) bitching about the state of politics or I can get more interested, curious and proactive about the world I live in.
What I didn’t always know…
You see, a few years ago it wasn’t just politics I didn’t know about. I didn’t know anything about myself. I didn’t know anything about making money. I didn’t know anything about business.
I didn’t know anything other than I was desperately unhappy with the results that I was seeing in my life. I was waiting tables for minimum wage and not earning enough to pay both rent and my credit card debt (sometimes not even the interest). I was tired, bitter, anxious and in general, a bit of a twat.
One day, I realised that excuse of “I don’t know anything about…” was the only thing standing between my current reality and a different reality. I had to get more interested and curious and proactive in my own life if I wanted my external reality to change.
I put down the bullshit and picked up a hefty dose of responsibility.
I got to know myself, exposed the ugly bits I didn’t want to look at, levelled up accordingly, learnt how to trust myself, pull through for myself, admire myself and I worked hard to change my poor habits. I am still learning how to do these things better.
I learnt how to make money, how to treat money and how to shift through tired patterns and exhausted strategies passed down by the generations and influenced by my culture. I am still learning how to do these things better.
I have failed in business as many times as I have had days in business – but as failure and success are the same thing, I’m still here, serving and monetising and loving what I do. I am still learning how to do these things better.
It was like the moment I sat up and took notice of where my life was at and chose to put down the lame excuse of “I don’t know anything about…” my life changed and continues to change because I am now committed to learning how to do things better.
And although my little bubble is ticking along nicely, the wider environment doesn’t seem to be. So I’m now applying the same thinking that turned my own life around, to politics. I don’t need to know every policy or HOW every step is going to go. But I do need to summon the desire to make a change, the will to do things differently and the understanding for those people (like my mate Kim) who are genuinely trying to figure out a way to do things better.
Where to from here?
Right now it might seem too broken to fix. Corruption, greed, fear and ignorance is rife in parliament (England I’m talking to you too!) but disregarding your vote with a shrug of “what difference will it make anyway?” is how Brexit happened.
There are people out there with the integrity, wisdom and intelligence to make the change.
But we need to come out of indifference and support them.
As a human race we are stronger collectively. So yes, your vote counts. Yes, your voice can be heard. And yes, it matters.
And if your life is feeling overwhelming and too broken to fix, it’s not. You might not know HOW to fix it, but you have to summon the desire and responsibility to make it better.
That is always the first step.
You can change your life, if you just take responsibility for the change.
We can change the world, if we all take responsibility for our vote.
Thank you for your attention.
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