“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today…

 “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”


Rumi’s words hold the power to resonate deeply within us, echoing the universal experiences of growth, introspection, and change. The quote, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself,” encapsulates a profound emotional journey—a transformation from youthful zeal to the wisdom of self-realization. As we explore the layers of meaning within this quote, we embark on an emotional voyage that leads us to embrace change, introspection, and personal evolution.

Unpacking Rumi’s Emotional Wisdom

Youthful Aspiration and World-Changing Dreams

In our younger years, we are often filled with idealism and a burning desire to make a significant impact on the world. Rumi’s words reflect the excitement and exuberance of youthful ambition. The concept of being “clever” denotes the confidence and energy to tackle grand challenges, envisioning a world reshaped by our actions. This phase is marked by a sense of invincibility and an eagerness to take on the world’s problems head-on.

The Transition to Profound Self-Awareness

As time passes and experiences accumulate, Rumi’s quote reveals a shift in perspective—one that speaks to the profound wisdom that comes with self-awareness. The phrase “Today I am wise” conveys the evolution of thought and emotional maturity. It signifies the realization that genuine change begins with introspection and self-improvement. The path to transformation lies in understanding our own motivations, fears, and desires—a journey that ultimately enriches our ability to contribute meaningfully to the world.

The Power of Self-Transformation

Rumi’s quote underscores the emotional power of self-transformation. It reminds us that personal growth isn’t a one-time achievement but a continuous process of self-discovery. Through self-awareness, we break free from the constraints of ego-driven aspirations and tap into our authentic selves. This shift allows us to cultivate empathy, compassion, and a deeper connection with those around us.

Embracing Vulnerability and Authenticity

The emotional depth of Rumi’s words lies in the acknowledgement of vulnerability and the courage to embrace authenticity. As we transition from wanting to change the world to focusing on changing ourselves, we recognize the importance of confronting our flaws and shadows. This emotional journey requires confronting uncomfortable truths and navigating the complexities of our own hearts and minds.

The Fulfillment of Inner Transformation

Rumi’s quote culminates in a message of fulfilment that arises from the journey of self-change. The act of transforming ourselves, driven by wisdom and self-awareness, brings a profound sense of satisfaction and contentment. This emotional reward surpasses the fleeting gratification of external achievements, as it is rooted in alignment with our true selves and a deeper understanding of life’s complexities.

Some ways to change ourselves in order to change the world

  • Become more compassionate. When we are compassionate, we are more likely to see the world through the eyes of others and to understand their suffering. This can lead us to take action to help others and make the world a better place.
  • Be more mindful. When we are mindful, we are more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This can help us to make better choices and to live more in alignment with our values.
  • Be more forgiving. When we forgive others, we release ourselves from the burden of anger and resentment. This can free us up to focus on positive change.
  • Be more grateful. When we are grateful, we appreciate the good things in our lives. This can help us to feel more positive and motivated to make a difference in the world.
  • Be more present. When we are present, we are fully aware of the moment. This can help us to appreciate the beauty of the world and to live more meaningfully.

FAQs about Rumi’s Quote: “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Q 1. What Does Rumi’s Quote Mean?

  1. A. Rumi’s quote reflects a journey from youthful ambition to self-awareness and personal growth. It emphasizes the shift from wanting to change the world externally to focusing on inner transformation.

Q 2. How Does This Quote Touch on Emotions?

  1. A. The quote evokes emotions of enthusiasm, introspection, vulnerability, and fulfilment. It captures the emotional evolution of individuals as they transition from ambitious dreams to inner wisdom.

Q 3. Why Does the Transition to Wisdom Require Changing Oneself?

  1. A. The transition to wisdom involves self-awareness and authenticity. Changing oneself is essential to align with one’s true values and purpose, fostering empathy and compassion in interactions with the world.

Q 4. How Can I Apply This Wisdom in My Life?

  1. A. You can apply this wisdom by recognizing the value of personal growth and inner transformation. Focus on self-awareness, embracing vulnerability, and cultivating empathy to create a positive impact on yourself and others.

Q 5. Is External Change Not Important?

  1. A. External change remains important, but Rumi’s quote suggests that genuine external change is best fostered through inner transformation. A changed self carries the emotional depth and authenticity required for impactful external change.

Q 6. How Does This Quote Relate to Emotional Intelligence?

  1. A. The quote highlights the growth of emotional intelligence. It acknowledges the importance of understanding one’s emotions and using that awareness to navigate personal growth and interpersonal dynamics.


Rumi’s quote, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself,” takes us on an emotional journey that spans from youthful ambition to profound self-awareness. This evolution reminds us of the beauty and complexity of human growth—the shift from pursuing external validation to seeking inner transformation. As we embrace vulnerability, authenticity, and empathy, we find the emotional fulcrum upon which our personal evolution and impact on the world rest.

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