026 | How to Make the World a Better Place

Greetings, hero!

In all my time, and all my travels, I’ve heard a lot of theories, ideas, and plans, all related to one underlying question—how to make the world a better place for the people in it. Today, I want to share my answer: 

Now trust me, I’ve heard a lot of ideas about what we can fix. I’ve even made a few suggestions myself. But today, I’m not so much suggesting something as I am prescribing it, not so much advocating for a certain idea so much as I am advocating for what you should do with the ideas you already have.

There’s a quote from Edmund Burke that I think people don’t get quite right, when he said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I most often hear it used as if the world is full of villains, and the only thing necessary for them to reign supreme is for heroes to not square up to them. And there is some truth to that, but I think of it a little differently. 

The world is a confusing place. It’s full of all sorts of different people, people with different ideas, some of which, yes, are evil. But I think the real beauty of that quote is that Burke says “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil…” and not “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil people.” I think it has a lot less to do with some villain out in the world, and much more to do with ourselves. Yes, the world is a confusing place. And in that confusion, it’s tempting to sit back and do nothing, to try to wait it all out until it makes a little bit more sense.

And I think, when we give into that temptation, the temptation to do nothing, we take one step further away from the hero and one step closer to the shadow. And it’s my prescription to you today, the thing I’m asking, almost begging you to do: become an active part of your world. Because the world doesn’t become a better place when you think the exact thoughts and feel the exact feelings as me, the world becomes a better place when you are a more active participant in it. 

May the road rise up to meet you!

The Mentor

The Letter from the Mentor is a weekly letter of encouragement and inspiration from your favorite old wizard, archetypal figure The Mentor. Full of advice, stories, and cheerful good will, the Letter from the Mentor is a weekly reflection on the greatest heroes of our time and those times before. You can read more letters below or sign up to get them in your inbox every Tuesday morning here:

052 | There Is No Try

Greetings, hero! Do or do not, there is no try. Those are familiar words from a familiar mentor, words that have been quoted and misquoted

Read More »

050 | Team Humanity

Greetings, hero! Some virtues are obvious.  It’s hard to imagine a villain who is particularly generous, hard to conceive of some great evil that values

Read More »