I was asked recently, “Are you willing to change? Truly change?”
It left me pondering not only my own personal situation, but our collective one.
We often desire change, improvement, betterment but get stuck comparing our life, our changes, our stresses and successes to someone else’s. In this constant, sometimes even unintentional comparison, we often fail to remember that how we react and respond to events is based on our individual life experiences and biological make up.
As an example, the same event – positive or negative – could be experienced by three different people but they wouldn’t all have the same response. The individual responses don’t make any of the individuals stronger or weaker than the other because they are incomparable. While one individual may think nothing of the event, the second may be somewhat affected and the third may remember the event fondly, often referencing it, bringing it back to mind over and over again. Conversely, if it’s a negative event, one may live with the trauma for more than a decade, struggling with how to overcome it.
Some turn to the bottle, others to food or ever-present social media, some look for the quick reward and dopamine fix of shopping. Essentially, we try to escape, outrun or out consume what ails us to find fulfillment.
We search for a quick fix, a fast solution. We look high and low, around every corner for a magic pill, the proverbial silver bullet, something simple that will cure all of our ails or ease our way of life.
The truth is: The quick fix we desire is ever elusive because the quick fix doesn’t exist. And change, true change, is not one size fits all.
Change takes work, hard work, work that I know first hand, and work I’m still engaged in each and every day. You can’t create change by force. It takes dedication, commitment, brutal honesty, vulnerability, perseverance and more to truly alter biological disposition and our often habitual, default responses to life’s experiences.
Change shouldn’t be seen as a destination that we are trying to reach, a final end. It can be grueling and slow or lightening speed and initiated by circumstances out of our control. Change and it’s pace for each of us is our own as is the work it takes to do it. You can truly only initiate change in the present moment. It’s a journey – one where we adapt and grow, take steps backwards, tiny steps forward and sometimes giant leaps forward over time.
Think of it as training for a marathon. If you’ve never been a runner before or haven’t run for a long time, you aren’t going to get up one day and knock out 26 miles. Instead, you initiate small steps from the couch to the pavement by running, say 10 minutes, on day 1 and gradually increasing it over time until you can cross the finish line with 26 miles in the rearview. The incremental steps we make towards the change we want to see, leads to the progress and habitual development that creates long-term benefit.
We are all a work in progress. Forever.
The question is: are you truly ready to do the work to change?