Can People Really “Change” As They Move Through Life? Answer: Yes
Lasting change starts with the individual. We can lead you to the water’s edge but if you don’t wish to drink there is little to work with. Learning to fish is much more impactful than being handed a fish, after all. The world takes notice of this effort, and treats you accordingly.
"As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him."
Last week’s email talked about realizing potential. Something I’ve been telling myself since the start of Live Better is “bear the burden of your potential.” Once we understand what we are capable of, we have a responsibility to work towards that capacity. I firmly believe that with what we know, we also have a responsibility to share that knowledge in a helpful way.
The Gandhi quote listed above is an interesting take perception, specifically the social aspect of self-awareness.
Does the perception of how others look at and treat you affect the way you think about yourself? Or, does the way you think about and treat yourself instruct the world on how to look at and treat you?
When Live Better was at its inception, people had doubts. You guys are leaving those jobs to do what? People will get in your way until you start to find success, then they will do everything they can to join your mission. At one point I was an accountant; now, I am a trainer and a coach. I used to hate waking up early (I’d rarely be in the office before 9:30am); now, I pop awake at 5:30am and start my day promptly at 6:00am.
We firmly believe that you teach others how to treat you. If you respond to work emails at 10:00pm, people will send you work emails at 10:00pm expecting a response. If you’re the type of person to dish it out, be prepared to take it.
You are capable of creating the person you want to be; however, you must be willing to work for it. Saying you want to be Michael Jordan doesn’t allow you the skill to actually do it. Talk the talk, then walk the walk.
In fact, run the run, and skip the words altogether. The world has the potential to shape you; there are millions of daily input, and it’s never been easier to get caught up in what everybody else wants and wants you to be. If you’re taking trend cues and playing follow the leader, it’s time to take a step back and find out way really moves you. Find out the direction YOU want to go, and then invite the rest of the world along for the ride.
If you think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and you consider yourself “old” (question: at what age is considered “old” anyway?), then just quit. Everyone will believe you when you say, “I’m old, it was time for me to stop doing [insert activity, sport, business].”
Or, you can defy the stigmatized perception the world has of who should be doing what at a certain age and continue to improve. This is under our control, no matter if you are eight years old or 80 years old. There is no rush; thoughtfulness is authentic (it shows people you’ve taken the time to establish a point of view instead of regurgitate someone else’s).
My favorite quote of all time reads,
“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Here are a few suggestions on ways in which you can kickstart “change:”
1) Tell others what you plan to do. Then, go do it.
This is that “run the run” thing we talked about. People want to help you, but if they don’t understand what you’re doing they’ll judge you. It’s up to you how you use (or discard) that judgement; sometimes it can be helpful if suggestions are made constructively, but other times it’s harmful if they simply are throwing shade. You must decide what information you internalize and what you let go.
2) Find a mentor to guide you along the process.
People who have experience have both succeeded and failed. Learn from their failures (it will make your path more efficient by avoiding the proverbial pot holes) and understand the cause and effect of their successes. Once you prompt action, people want to help, especially people who have been there before. Everybody likes offering advice - seek out the advice you know is helpful. They'll also bring you back to True North when you mind starts playing self-doubt tricks on you. Mentors can fast track you to finding your own path, but ultimately it is you who must go the distance.
3) Cut the self-limiting BS story you tell yourself about where you are compared to others.
No innovation would ever occur if a founder thought, “Wow, look at that company trying to do the same thing…I should stop.” If people think you’re an asshole, start being nicer! Instead of saying this is who I am, become the person you want to be. People like comeback stories, they like offering second and third chances, and everyone wants the underdog to win. If you want to change, it is your discipline, drive, effort, and planning that will take you there - and it won’t happen overnight. Get ready to weather whatever storm arises.
This is a big part of our “best day ever mindset.” It’s not always a positive outlook, but it is in your response and your action that defines what happens next. Growth and change take time, but they are certainly possible. We don’t usually stay the same; we either get better or we get worse. That is up to you.
Tell me - is the world telling you who to be, or you are telling the world who you are?