This is in line with the saying by Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change in the world that you wish for”.
Thoreau also wrote, “If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.”
“In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.”
If you wish others to engage in righteous action, first lead them in doing good works. Trying to talk to them to do good only goes so far. But by being and doing the changes you wish others to see will go much further than just complaining to them to work harder. The last quote by Thoreau exhorts you to “aim high”. I do not believe he meant here making the most money and becoming the top guy in a Fortune 500 company. I believe what he means is living your own life to the fullest and achieving your personal “best” in an endeavor that helps the most people, or touches the life of just one person in a profound manner.