“They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”Andy Warhol
I recently came across this Warhol quote while reading Ed Mylett’s new book the power of one. I wanted to bring up Ed here because I believe in giving credit where credit is due and were it not for his book, I may not have come across these words and been inspired for today’s post. I think Ed would agree but the idea is not to be original, but to continue sharing ideas while adding your own unique perspective and experience to each thought, and to continue spreading important thoughts so they can touch more people’s lives. Ryan Holiday is a tremendous author whom I admire, and who has changed my life. Much of his work is derived from his take on the ideas of famous thinkers like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus. Just because everything he says is not original, doesn’t mean it can’t be valuable and isn’t worth repeating. While the original message is often powerful, it is Holiday’s unique take on the thought that makes it meaningful. Thus I stand on the shoulder of giants to use their genius to inspire my own thoughts.
The theme of today’s post is change. What type of changes do you need to undergo in order to take yourself from where you are today to where you want to be? No matter who you are, upon a critical review of yourself and your life, most of us would arrive at the conclusion that we can make some kind of change that would allow us to become a better and happier person. That isn’t to say that we aren’t deserving and worthy of joy and happiness as we are, but it is an admission that we can, most likely be even better.
What does it take to change? Simply put, energy. Newtonian (Isaac Newton is the person who spoke the standing on the shoulder of giants quote which I paraphrased earlier by the way) physics tells us that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an external force, and an object in motion will stay ion motion unless acted on by an external force. What is required to make a change in the status of your being is exactly the same, it takes force and energy. Your life will not change, the speed of your progress will not accelerate unless you dedicate the energy to exerting force toward the goal of enacting change.
The laws of thermodynamics tell us that energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is only transferred. Therefore the energy behind every successful endeavor in the history of the universe, whether it was something as grand as the forming of the planets, the beginning of life, or as miniscule as a woman starting her own business or a man transforming his health by losing 50 lbs it does not matter, those things all took energy and that same energy is still present in the universe waiting for you to harness it.
You harness that energy first recognizing what your burning desire it is. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is all about recognizing your desire and then building a detailed plan for making your desire into reality. In order to change you must first know two things, where are you today, and where do you want to be? After this you decide how long you will allot to this change, what micro goals you will set in order to get there – making sure to be as specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound as possible.
Finally, you must decide why you want to change. Your why may be the most important part of all this. Without a compelling reason to act, a reason to undergo the struggle that is change, you must have a valid reason. This reason must be powerful enough to you that the thrill of the prospect of success, the pain of potential failure and fear from the pain of change will be less than the pain of staying the same.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”Leo Tolstoy
This idea of change from Tolstoy isn’t saying that you need to change so that you can conform to the world in order to be accepted. It is saying that by changing yourself you allow yourself to change the world for the better, by being the best version of yourself. Paulo Coelho said in the Alchemist that when we pursue our own personal legend we are serving the universe by taking care of that one part of the universe for which it is our responsibility to care, our self. When commit to self analysis and to personal growth, happiness, and excellence, you are ignoring the 99.9% of all existence that is above your control and taking control of your own destiny by focusing on the little part of the universe which you can control. That being your mind and how you will respond to any given set of circumstances, what Viktor Frankl called the last of the human freedoms.
Remember, it is not up to you to ask what the meaning of life is, rather life is asking you? What will the meaning of your life be? Take a good look at yourself and figure out who you are and who you want to become. By committing yourself to personal growth and happiness, by taking the effort to make beneficial changes you are making the world better. You owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself you can be.
Be the force that will bring about the change in state of your life.
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