Welcome to part three in this series on creating positive change in your life. Before you begin reading this article, I recommend you review the first two parts –
Next we’re going to continue to build on the concepts introduced in the previous article, which are –
- Confidence can be created through training, repeating processes so you build on your results
- Raise your self awareness so you can be master of your universe, rather than your perceptions mastering you
- You must continue to move forward regardless of how you feel or what conditions you face because it’s not always going to be a smooth ride
These ideas focus on you being the catalyst for change, so let’s take a deeper look at how much power you really have to create the kind of results you want in your life…
A Hard Lesson: You Can’t Control Everything
Potentially one of the most depressing moments in your life, especially as a young person, is coming to grips with your own limitations. I’m all for creating a strong base of self esteem so you feel like you can achieve anything, but it’s necessary to realize that you’re not going to be the best at everything and some things you won’t ever be able to do.
We’re all born with gifts, natural abilities, and strengths, but conversely, there are things we’re not good at and other elements that impact our lives, which are based on the “luck of the draw” that is the lottery of life. Your genetic make-up, where you are born, what era you are born into and all kinds of things can hinder your ability to create the change you want in your life.
Your environment has a huge impact on who you are, how you think and what you do. You can expand your universe by taking in new inputs, but you’re limited to what inputs are available (hence the phrase you don’t know what you don’t know). Although you live in an infinite universe, for most of us we can only function within a finite universe or, well, your head might explode, or at least you won’t be able to function within the framework of the society you call home, or the body you operate within.
Despite having your own unique set of circumstances based on your environment, physical make-up and ever expanding consciousness, there are universal principles that you can apply to help you create what you want in your life, regardless of your limitations. In the end, as is always the case, in comes down to the choices you make.
You’ve been given the power of freewill, which means in all circumstances you can make a choice. This is a wonderful gift, but dangerous in the “wrong” hands, so it pays to put some effort into ensuring you are making smart choices – that’s smart in relation to what you want of course, which is going to be different from person to person.
Let’s take a look at a basic framework of ideas you can use in order to help you make the right choices. Like the previous article in this series, I’ll draw upon other blog posts I’ve published as source content for the ideas. Please read the source articles too as they will enhance your understanding of each concept.
4. Make Smart Choices (Stop making it hard for yourself and don’t just follow the herd)
When faced with a situation where you’re simply not good at something or there is a barrier that is completely out of your control stopping you from achieving something, it’s important that you see reality for what it is.
Of course we can choose to see things in a different way, to put our positive glasses on, or perhaps simply not think about or perceive something at all because it serves us better that way. However, fooling yourself to believe you can fly and consequently jumping off a building causing massive injury is not the kind of positive thinking or awareness change we are after here.
The article on using your brain and willpower to create change introduced a logical idea when faced with a world of inequality: You need to accept the conditions you operate within now and do the best with what you have been given.
This is actually more critical than you might think. It’s not just about accepting that you will never be tall if you are short, it’s important that you make choices that allow you to develop what you are naturally gifted at (in the height example, you do things that short people have an advantage doing).
There are people in this world who prefer to take on challenges that they are handicapped to perform in some way. That’s fine, and I’m not going to argue against this, but for the greater majority of people on this planet, making your life harder than it already is, is not a smart choice.
We’re looking for the path of least resistance, and the lowest hanging fruit.
Make choices that leverage skills, talents or abilities that you were born with or have developed over time to give yourself an advantage. It’s usually much more fun and gratifying to do this, you earn greater rewards because you put more into it and do it for longer, and on a global scale, generally you give more back to the world too.
Don’t fight what you can’t control and gravitate to areas where you can provide effortless value. When I say effortless, I don’t mean it won’t be work, but the process of work is enjoyable even when it’s frustrating, painful or exhausting. You’re developing aspects of yourself that were meant to be developed, rather than struggling to do something you’re not good at.
This makes complete sense right?
Yeah, sure it does, but for many people on this planet they consider it a pipe dream to do what they want, and here’s why…
- You don’t know what you’re good at or “meant to do” or how on earth it could help you make money, or if it even should
- You’ve made less than smart choices and find yourself in a situation where you feel trapped doing something you don’t like
- You live in a society where you don’t even have your basic needs met, so thinking about what you might be good at doing rarely even crosses your mind, making enough food to survive, or finding a place to sleep that is warm, are the only challenges you deal with on a day to day basis
The fact that the third point is even relevant is particularly sad, in terms of a reflection of who we are as a people. It’s safe to say that if you’re reading this you’re dealing with issues one and two and have risen to the point where your basic needs are met. Although at one stage I’d like to more thoroughly review some things we can do to help eliminate that third condition, that’s a topic for another article on another day.
So, assuming your basic needs are met, in most cases to create the positive change in your life, the big mistake you are making right now is bad choices, choices incongruent with what you want. Every day you wake up and repeat activities that reinforce what you don’t want, which are born from thinking in a way that doesn’t take you to where you want to go, or to who you want to be.
This is an easy mistake to make because most of society is doing exactly the same thing. In order to break out of this pattern you essentially have to be “weird”, which in context is not doing what the majority think is accepted behavior. The problem is that you are a herd animal and it’s uncomfortable enough just to even bring up the subject of making changes that most people will criticize you for, let alone to actually do it. This is why it’s critical you start to connect the dots and realize that –
- A) You’re going to have to be different to most “normal” people if you are to go after what you want
- B) The perceived normality is, however, just an illusion, brought about because everyone thinks in a certain way and thus acts in a certain way, which doesn’t make them happy, often causes other people as well as themselves to suffer and worse still, usually damages the planet too
If you can break the illusion simply by choosing not to partake in the accepted behaviors and thought processes, then you’re on the way to making a difference.
This is not a situation of black and white choices of course, so you’re going to have to make some decisions based on what you believe is right given what you want to change. I reiterate, you need to do the best with what you have been given, which is not usually doing what everyone else does or doesn’t do.
You’re going to face ridicule (all entrepreneurs and revolutionaries know what this is like), but the fact is, if you just keep doing what everyone does, you’re going to get the same results. Break the pattern, stand out from the crowd, start making smart choices and people will look at you funny at first, but once they see how big an impact it has on your life, they’re going to start looking at you as if you are some kind of genius. You may even become a leader – now that’s a scary thought isn’t it!
What’s particularly powerful about this shift in awareness and behaviors, is that at first sure, you’re doing it for your own self good, but it can go much further. It’s when one individual starts making smart choices – let’s call them “enlightened choices” – that the run-off effect is an impact on people around you, who may as a result of observing you, start to make similarly “unusual” choices. Like a good pyramid scheme, if enough people do this, then the world can change for the better, as these two fellows certainly understand –
Daisaku Ikeda (Japanese peace activist) said – “A great revolution in just one single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a society and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of humankind.”
Gandhi said – “Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Although you may be looking to create positive change to aspects in your life, making smart choices can have a ripple effect that can change the behaviors of the entire human race. The great thing about this is all you need to worry about is making what you perceive as the right choices given what you want to change. It’s not always easy, but becoming aware of your power to make the choice and not simply go with the status quo, is a huge first step.
If you’ve managed to raise your self awareness to the point where you understand you are master of your own interpretation, you’re focusing on changing the internal dialogue with yourself for the better, you’re seeing the world in a much more positive light, you’re committed to working on something long enough to get a result and you realize that it’s not always going to feel 100% perfect along the way, all that’s left is to figure out what the right choices are, and then make them.
Let’s take the next step and look at how we can determine what the right choices are…
5. Follow Success Patterns (Don’t reinvent the wheel)
Much of this source article focuses on raising your awareness to the point where you realize what you want, a recurring theme in this series on positive change too. There’s a very relevant point to extract from towards the end of the article, which can fill in one of the final missing ingredients to create the change you want in your life.
It never fails to amaze me how many people don’t figure out this very simple idea. I’ve had people come up to me and ask for my advice on how to do something and in so many situations, even if I know absolutely nothing about who they are, what they are good at, or even the area they are focused on, this advice still applies.
Replicate What Works
If you don’t know what the smart choices are to get what you want, or even just the next step, or you’re not even sure what on earth you are meant to do, that’s okay because you’re not alone on this planet. You don’t need to figure everything out for yourself.
All you need to do is find people who have done what you want to do, or who are living how you want to live, and then learn what you need to know from them.
This concept applies universally to all forms of change, there is always some form of help available. If you want to make money doing something, find someone who’s figured out how to do that. If you’re about to face a new challenge, like becoming a father or mother for the first time, there are other people who have been through this experience before you. If you want to start a revolution and eliminate a great injustice, or stop a global catastrophe, or just figure out how to change your fashion style so you will be more attractive to the opposite sex, aspects of how to do all these things is learnable because it has been done before.
Even if you are doing something completely new in a completely innovative industry, or you’re attempting to break new ground, there will be success principles that other people have used that will apply to what you are doing. You’re learning some now just by reading this article. All you have to do is get out there and find the right people or the right information to start filling in the blanks to figure out what your immediate next step is, what the smart choices are.
You might need a coach or mentor, or perhaps you can study a guru or just read a good book. Maybe a structured course, or even a full degree is the answer. Maybe just a conversation over a cup of tea will give you want you need, or perhaps taking a hands-on training program is what you require.
In most circumstances, to learn what you need to know is a holistic process. To determine what steps you need to take and to undertake the necessary personal growth you require to get where you want to go, it is necessary to collect input from all kinds of sources, some that you proactively seek out, others that just show up at the right time (more on this later in the series).
In my own experience to create the change I desire in my life I usually go with a combination of experimentation (mandatory for most change to occur), with passive observation of people who have what I want, combined with active study of materials from experts and when possible, some personal time spent with people, some who just came about at the right time and taught me something they may not have even realized they were teaching, and others who I sought out to solve a particular problem.
As Mulder constantly reminded us in the X-Files, the truth is out there, you just need to go looking for whatever truths will help you to create the change you want.
What If You Don’t Know What You Want?
As one final piece of advice before I end this part of the series, if you’re not even sure what you want, consider things you might like to have, or what about you or your immediate environment that you want to change, and then start looking for alternative choices you could make today to take you towards that reality.
You have to understand that making smart choices is not an absolute endeavor. You will never know the “right” decision beyond what is best for what you want to be in a given moment. This means that what is right for you will change constantly, it’s part of the growth process that is the evolution of your consciousness. In order to help you get closer to figuring out your truth, you will need to sample and experiment.
Follow success patterns based what you think and feel might work for you, or focus on making changes that eliminate what you don’t like about your life right now. Sometimes a process of elimination will lead you to what you want, but that doesn’t mean all the principles you have learned up to this point are not relevant. They apply equally the same.
You will always have the power of choice and it’s up to you to figure out what you want, no one else can decide this for you. That’s why raising your awareness as a basic concept is so important, it will give you the insight to know that change needs to be made in the first place, triggering the cascade of decisions that will lead you to greater clarification of what you really want.
Coming Up Next: Where Does Change Really Originate From?
The puzzle is looking a lot more complete. You now have some strong foundation concepts that can help you to realize the change you want, namely –
- Confidence comes from training
- Become self aware so you can use your perception as a positive force in your life
- Work consistently regardless of external conditions and their effect on your feelings
- Make smart choices based on your own strengths and what you want, not what everyone else does
- Follow the success patterns that are all around you, ready to be learned whenever you need guidance
Most of these ideas reflect on you as the center of your own universe, which is certainly true, but we’ve left out a key point – everything is connected.
I touched on this idea when I talked about how you changing yourself can result in changing others around you, but it goes much further than this.
Everything you do influences other people, just as what other people do influences you. There is a mass interconnected web that you must learn how to operate within if you want it to help, rather than hinder you from experiencing the positive changes you desire.
Once you are aware of what I will cover in the next article you may even begin to question where change comes from or what you even are. We are heading into uncharted waters, so stay tuned, there’s more to come yet!
Part 4 is now available: Don’t Let Your Ignorance Stop You