“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” — Leonardo Dicaprio
Are you the same person you were 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, or even 5 years ago?
Are you still learning the same lessons, doing the same workouts, thinking the same thoughts, and being plagued by the same fears?
Or is it obvious to you and everyone else you are fundamentally different? Are you continuously on to bigger and better things?
Most people don’t want to change. They’ve reached a certain position in their health, finances, relationships, spirituality — and plateau’d. They’ve become content and satisfied. Or, they’ve at least found comfort and justification by comparing their situation with people they perceive as worse-off than them.
As C. S. Lewis has said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If someone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It’s in the comparison that makes you proud.”
It’s easy to compare ourselves with those we perceive as less than us. Yet, in examining those we perceive as doing “better,” we blame external factors for our lack of progress.
Real progress as an individual requires focusing inward. You are the root cause of your current results. If you want different results, you must first be a different person. And at every succeeding level of your progression, you’ll be required to change again. As Marshall Goldsmith, a renowned leadership consultant has said, “What got you here, won’t get you there.”
We are not here to “find” ourselves, but rather, to create ourselves. Our identity is not fixed, but fluid and flexible. Thus, DHH has said, “‘Just be yourself’ is a terrible platitude for accepting the random attributes of character you’ve acquired thus far.”
Don’t Revert To How Things Were
At the conclusion of a 2-year mission-trip I served, a leader told me, “Ben, the worst thing you could do is go home and be the person you were before your mission.”
After having experienced radical growth and learning, why would I go back to behaving as if I had not had those experiences?
Personal progress should be permanent, not temporary. If you learn things that re-define how you see the world, why continue living the same way? Why perpetuate the cognitive dissonance?
If your vision for yourself and your future expands, why continuing living small?
If you go through experiences that challenge you to grow, why shrink back to who you once were? Life is meant to be transformational. Human beings are intended to evolve and progress, not stagnate and wither.
It’s okay to change, even if that means things must be different. Actually, that’s part of the process.
Will people judge you for the changes you make? Absolutely.
Will people not understand why you’re doing what you’re doing? Most won’t get it.
Most people prefer the same and safe. So when you change, you threaten the status quo. You threaten how things “are.” If your change is real, you’ll attract a new social circle and new environment to reflect your evolving nature.
Things can never be how they once were if the change you experienced is real.
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