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I can't change anything alone argument

I alone can't change anything anyway! Is that a sensible argument for not living sustainably?

Time and again you hear in discussions about Veganism, Zero Waste or a basically sustainable life the argument "I alone can't change anything anyway". Yet this sentence is anything but a logical argument. Rather, it is a quick excuse to shift responsibility from oneself to others.

In this article, I would like to explain briefly and concisely why many people say it - and why each and every one of us really can make a difference.

Why do people say "the individual can't change anything"

First of all, we should find out the reasons for this quick and almost reflexive argument. Each of us is only a tiny part of all life on this planet. For many people, we therefore seem to be so insignificant as individuals that we are considered to be of the greatest importance. Environmental problems of our time can't change anything anyway. With this thought in mind, the abundance of challenges can freeze you into a pillar of salt. Perfection and your own comfort also play a decisive role in not wanting to question yourself. And the last shred of residual motivation is then blown away by a lack of awareness of the power of group dynamics.

We can see that people are tempted to make excuses such as "the individual can't change anything anyway" because...

  • It is assumed that as an individual you cannot prevail against 8 billion people. (Weakness)
  • they believe you have to do everything perfectly (Perfection)
  • our society faces not one, but dozens of challenges (powerlessness, excessive demands)
  • Many of them think that they are really alone with their project (lack of groupthink)
  • they do not have to rethink their own behavior and so there is no need to act (convenience)

Can you think of any other reasons not to believe that each individual can make a difference? Then feel free to write me a comment with your reference.

Why "I can't change anything on my own anyway!" is just a weak excuse

The individual can not change anything argument

The phrase "the individual cannot change anything" builds an imaginary protective wall against the fear of change and effort - and shifts responsibility onto others. What if everyone thought this way? Then everything on our planet would stay the same! And as Albert Einstein once said: "The purest form of madness is to leave everything as it is and hope that something will change." Everyone should therefore assume that they can change something.

I would now like to say a few words about the supposed reasons for many people's lack of belief in positive change.

Nobody is too "small" to change anything

You may be just one of nearly 8 billion people. But if you lead by exampleyou will also positively change the attitude of others, who will once again pass on their optimistic attitude.

Nothing has to be perfect

Sustainable living is a conscious, life-long attitude and a constant learning process. No one has to implement everything perfectly - it is enough when many people, do many small things imperfectly. Because you as an individual can bring about positive change even with small, good deeds. Especially if you constantly set an example.

Those who create problems can also solve them

World hunger, climate change, Plastic waste in the environment, Deforestation of the rainforests - Yes, we are facing a huge mountain of problems. But they are only created by human action. That is why they can only be solved through human action. Each and every one of us is either part of the problem - or part of the solution. The decision is entirely up to you.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - this quote from Mahatma Gandhi is just too fitting at this point. More Quotes about positive thinking can be found in the linked collection of sayings.

Those who want to make a positive difference are never alone

People who believe they can change something will also be successful and carry others along with them. You are "alone" at most in the brief moment of deciding to change something in your life in order to eliminate a grievance of any kind. But if it is a problem that not only affects you, but also many other people, you will not remain alone and get the ball rolling. You just need to be convinced that you can make a difference as an individual.

The Veganism or the Zero Waste Lifestyle are prime examples of this. Today, these movements have many followers - but they too had their origins at some point in the thoughts and attitudes of individuals.

Tip: Have you ever thought about buying a Start online petition? These digital signature collections have already eliminated many grievances in our society!

Convenience creates and exacerbates problems instead of solving them

Already Socrates said "Don't focus all your energy on fighting the old, but on creating the new.". But Change is difficult for most people. It's easier to simply reject the new and blurt out phrases like "I alone can't change anything". But in fact, it only takes a little thinking outside the box to make a positive difference.

You act for example the Cruelty to animals in the Factory farming by reaching for oat milk just a few centimetres further down the supermarket shelf instead of choosing cow's milk as usual. That's not really exhausting, is it? We don't all have to become Gandhis, Einsteins and Mandelas - because every good deed, no matter how small, changes something in the world for the better.

Tip: Do you already know the App Replace Plastic? In a matter of seconds, you can scan the barcode of products that you would like to see without plastic. The manufacturer then receives a notification. Every single user contributes in total to the fact that countless Products redesigned and today manage without plastic.

Every individual can make a difference!

the individual can change nothing argument

"I alone can't change anything" - when I hear this sentence, I get goosebumps. Because it says so much about a person. Weakness, powerlessness, complacency, ignorance... but at the same time it also reveals the opportunities and potential of the people who utter it. Because every rethink starts with a thought-provoking impulse - all it needs is someone to give it.

We can't think negatively and expect positivity - with the following articles you can make a positive change in your life right now:

I hope that this article has helped you. Think positively and be an equally positive role model for others - you will see how your life will change.

Do you still have questions? Or do you still believe that you can't change anything on your own? Then write me a comment under this article.

Stay optimistic and sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: By the way, I wrote this article alone. Every day I reach hundreds of people who are convinced that they can make a difference, even as individuals. And so every rain begins with a drop.

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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