Before you can change others, you must change yourself!

“…If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him..” -Mahatma Gandhi

Changing people from their habits is hard, but it becomes even harder when you have no experience in creating permanent change within your own life. For example, taking up a new lifestyle, losing weight, getting rid of an addiction, picking up a new positive habit, keeping New Year’s resolutions, etc.

According to a University of Scranton study, ninety-two percent of people do not keep their New Year’s resolution. The National Weight Control Registry states just about 20% of obese dieters “sustains a 10 percent weight loss” for over a year.

Yes, change is not easy. But as Gandhi once said,

We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.

It is from this he is often misquoted as saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Close. The point is, if you wish to see a change in others, you first must change. We must be the agents of change, who influence others to change.

There’s a passage of Scripture in the Good Book that states, “First take the log out of your own eye and then you will be able to see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” This only makes sense. If a doctor is ill, how can he then help others to be well? So in order to effect change in others, it’s only natural that you effect changes in yourself. No one can do it for you, or force you to do it. But the end result will be much more fulfilling. Changing ourselves for the better is called personal development, and will enable us to live richer healthier lives. 

In addition, the level of conviction that comes from someone who has experienced dramatic, persistent change is at a totally new level compared to those who have not. Without that significant experience, you will not truly understand the steps required to create persistent, behavioural change. Everything you say is just theory or someone else’s experience, and this will come through whenever you teach Agile.  This, of course, does not mean you need to pick up an addiction just to experience the change, there are some things that you can do today to change your experience completely.

To experience personal transformation so that you can transform others, start by doing this:

  1. Identify a key area of your life that you want to improve. Make sure it’s a significant area.
  2. Think of three things that if done persistently, will move you from where you are today, to where you want to be.
  3. Implement those three things and keep at it for 60 days.

If your area of improvement is significant, you likely will hit key impediments within 7 days. How will you overcome this and keep going with your new habits?

If you fail, great! Don’t get discouraged. You have just identified a key area of learning for creating persistent change.

One of my favourite book on this topic is Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr Maxwell Matz (check it out:…)


When you can create significant personal change, you are armed with a new level of conviction and empathy to help those who you need to bring to the Agile ways of working.

So, did you enjoy this article? Do you believe in changing yourself before you can change others? Share your views in the Comments box below.