A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article that I called Knowledge is not enough. Writing this lead me up to a new question which I formulated as Is meaningful enough to do? and said that I might return to this question in the future. I have been postponing this for quite some time now, because frankly I find this question hard to answer. During this time also a new question came to my mind; How do people change?
But beware, for the future has now come and I’m gonna try to write some words about this subject. Because I realized that these two questions are related and this here is my attempt to discuss why. Just heads up that you shouldn’t expect any clear answers and be prepared to be more confused after reading this than you were before. Chodźmy!
So what makes people want to change and how do they do so? A simple answer would be just by mere existence in the ongoing process of living and dying. This process towards death starts from the moment we are being born. Just by living our life we are constantly changing. We are getting older, we explore, we learn, we get more experience and we grow as humans until it all ends. Nothing lasts forever and I believe that it’s not until we realize, understand and accepts this that we can truly appreciate every moment of life.
But how to be more aware? How to intentionally make a change? I believe that we can achieve great things if we really want to. We need to get this idea, get this thought that we want to make a difference. Because our brain is a powerful tool. If you think you want a change and believe you can do it, then you can. If you find this change meaningful for you it will probably be easier. At the same time changing your thoughts can be hard, because they pretty much goes on routine.
A metaphor (I don’t remember where I heard it, but I like it) goes something like this;
Imagine you are walking on a field of high grass. If you go there often eventually the grass will fold and create a path. Every time you are crossing this field you will walk on this path, because it’s easier to walk on the path where you already have walked than walking in the high grass where there is no path. The same goes for your thoughts and habits. It’s easier to think and do the same things you have always done than to think new thoughts or do new things.
To change our thoughts or habits we must dare to go at the side of our own path. In the beginning the grass will rise again after every time you go this new way and it will always be easier to just walk the old path you already created. But if you walk the new way again and again eventually a new path will occur and the old one will slowly disappear. You have now changed your thoughts and your habits.
What this metaphor teaches us is that;
- We need to feel this urge to change. This spark that gets us going. The thought that makes us start on this new path
- We need to be consistent and patient. Change take time. If we just walk the new path once it will soon disappear and we will be back on the old one
So how do we get this spark? That feeling that we need to change? What gives us the motivation to want to change? One strong factor that should not be underestimated is fear. Rather than the goal of achieving something or getting somewhere the fear of not achieving something or not getting somewhere can be a huge motivator. Fear is only a bad thing if we let it destroy us.
Also the people we surround our self affect our thoughts and habits. So if you want a change, take a look of your friends and family. Do they represent the way of life you want to have? If not, do they support you if you want to change or do they hold you back? Should you continue to surround yourself with these people or should you leave them? These are hard questions with even harder answers that can lead you to tough decisions, but if you want what is best for you they are necessary. You have the power to create a life that is meaningful for you.
So is what is meaningful? To understand this let’s look at what it means. Meaningful is defined as Something with a important purpose. The opposite would be Meaningless, defined as Something that lacks meaning, that isn’t relevant or important and therefore not filling any function.
Meaningful can also be divided into two categories; What is meaningful for our survival, such as eating, sleeping, physical activity, relationships and so on and what is meaningful for us as individuals such as hobbies, interest, beliefs and so on. It is this later category I’m referring to.
Is meaningful enough to will? To better answer this question I’m gonna turn it around and ask Is will enough to make it meaningful?
I have many times thought I want to do something, to change something, to learn something, to be something, but I don’t. I want the end result, but I’m not prepared to take the journey that takes me there. It’s simply not meaningful enough for me to take time for this, time that I rather prioritize on other things that are more meaningful for me. Or with other words, I’m interested in it but not fully committed because it’s not important enough or doesn’t fill any function for me.
If my time was infinite, that would be a whole other story, but it’s not. As mentioned before, nothing lasts forever and our time is limited. It’s up to us to do what we believe is meaningful with the time we have.
So if the answer to Is will enough to be meaningful is No, then maybe the answer to Is meaningful enough to will is Yes. I don’t know.
All I know is that I have changed a lot during these last few years. I have changed the way I see myself, I have learned to accept and understand myself better which have helped me to understand and accept other people better. I have realized that nothing is permanent, things changes whether we want it to or not, so you can stay with your old thoughts or you can change with it.
I have gone from being a football player with the belief that I would be that for the rest of my life to do everything but football.
I have gone from the idea of never having my own business to quitting my job and start my own business as an Online coach.
I have gone from being scared of talking to people to standing on a stage having a training class for hundreds of people.
I have let go of many things that previously was meaningful for me to find meaning in different places.
All because life took different directions and lead me on to new paths and I chose to follow them instead of stay in the same place.
If you think about it I believe you have experienced similar changes, otherwise they are there just waiting for you to take the first step. Then the second. Then the third. Until you have created a new path in the field of grass that is your life.