Ruminations

Change, Be the Person You Want to Become !!!

"The Secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." —Socrates—

Unless you’re completely happy with every aspect of your life, there’s room for positive change. So, what keeps one from changing into the person he/she wants to be? Psychologists have theorized that there are two primary reasons. One, the brain always seeks to function in the most efficient way possible, to take the path of least resistance, and change requires work–lots of it. Two, to keep us safe. How? Change is the unknown, and there are inherent dangers in venturing into something new. It’s the primal instinct that kept our earliest ancestors from wandering into the unfamiliar and getting devoured by saber-toothed tigers. If we’re miserable in our current state, at least we know what that’s like; but getting out of your comfort zone by changing? Ummm, no. We can’t get beyond the unease of positive change to see the rewards, so desperate is the brain to maintain stability and stay within its comfort zone that it’ll rationalize against anything you want to change to keep the status quo.

You’re already ahead of the game since you know why change is so difficult. So how do we fight these extremely potent deterrents and effect change? Analyze and clarify what you really want. Be very clear and specific. Change will not happen without precision on the what and why. Pick one change, write down all your thoughts about it, and review them daily. The simplest method (thus one that is easy to stick with) is to do one thing that will get you closer to your desired change every day. Visualize daily in detail and use all your senses to very vividly imagine yourself after this successful change. Be the person you want to become. You need to feel yourself in this role, much like an actor. Olympic athletes have used visualization for decades. With tenacity and commitment, amazing and profound changes will happen. Expect setbacks, but persist.

Interesting factoid, the above quote is incorrectly attributed to the ancient Greek luminary. The full sentence goes thus: Back in the office, Socrates drew some water from the spring water dispenser and put on the evening’s tea specialty, rose hips, as he continued. “You have many habits that weaken you. The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” This is an excerpt from the 1984 edition of Way of the Peaceful Warrior written by Dan Millman. In the book, “Socrates” is the nickname given to Millman’s unlikely mentor—an attendant at an all-night gas station who was portrayed by Nick Nolte in the 2006 movie, who somewhat modified this quote.

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