It is said that every journey begins with a single step, the first step. The journey to transformation is no different. However, the first step to transformation is not a physical one. It requires a change of mind, of one’s mind-set. That is where the hardest battles are fought, lost or won, in the mind.
Before people can begin to fundamentally transform they must first become aware of this first, most important step and accept it in principle: acknowledge that your life is not what you want it to be and change is needed or necessary. Any hope of a positive outcome depends on the acceptance of this first critical step.
Some people refuse to believe that they are in need of change even when it is glaringly apparent to everyone around them that something must or should be done. This kind of situational blindness or need to maintain the status quo can be the result of avoidance behavior or outright denial that any problems exist in the first place.
Simply acknowledging a broken existence, that life as it is has become unmanageable, is paramount. For people who have found themselves in an unsatisfactory existence, this is not unlike an addict admitting that they are powerless over drugs, that their lives have become unmanageable.
Powerlessness can take on many forms. It could be a persons inability to separate themselves from someone else in a relationship that is toxic or abusive. It could be overspending. It could be procrastination. It could be an inability to say no. For most people, their powerlessness to fundamentally change their lives for the better lies in fear.
Fear can absolutely paralyze an individual. It can keep them working at a job they hate, living a life they despise or prevent them from pursuing what might otherwise bring them a fulfilling life. Fear is a severe task master. People starving for change will always serve fear before they ever serve themselves. Walt Kelly once wrote in his comic strip, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
I believe that we are hard wired to want, to try, to succeed. It is but a choice as to whether or not we do. Fear seems to be the biggest obstacle for choosing for ourselves the life we would prefer to lead. There is a difference between fear and caution. It is the difference between paralysis and prudent action. I do not believe we are hard wired to fear to the point of inaction or of feeling powerless. I believe that kind of fear is a learned behavior and as a learned behavior, I believe it can be unlearned.
There is also a difference between change and transformation. You can change your hair style, your clothes, your car, where you live, your job and your friends but none of that will change you, who you are. When I talk about a transformation I am talking about changes on the inside as well as on the outside. Transformation as in a metamorphosis.
Transformational change means coming to know yourself in a fundamentally different way and acting accordingly. It all begins with accepting the notion “my life is not what I want it to be and I need to change.”
Are you satisfied with your life? Is it as you would have it? Are there changes that need to be made? Please return here for Part III in this series, the next step toward transformation.