Okleberry, Joseph N
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PublicationBe the Change: How Living With Virtue Contributes to the Collective Good(2022-01-01) Okleberry, Joseph NThe vast majority of humans yearn for a better world. Underlying that desire is a hope that others will be better. We want politicians to act with integrity; social media CEOs to prioritize our mental health; energy executives to care for our planet; romantic partners to understand our needs; children to spend less time online. In short, we want people to live more virtuously. But how do go about achieving this? I believe Gandhi’s teachings provide the answer. He taught that we need not wait for others to change, instead, we can be the change that we are seeking. Gandhi believed humans are interconnected and that when one person changes, the collective also changes. To some, this might sound far-fetched, but scientific research is emerging that demystifies this wisdom. This paper underscores the benefits to the collective when individuals live with virtue. It begins with a review of Gandhi’s life, then highlights research related to sustainable behavior change, and culminates with an amalgamation of research that demonstrates behavior contagion from individuals to the collective. As we strive to create a better world for future generations, we'd be smart to be the change that we are seeking.