Challenging the myth that ‘one thing’ will be life-changing

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In a world of dwindling attention spans, the feeling that we have less time, and a fixation on the need to make every moment productive, it’s enticing when we stumble upon an idea that one thing can offer a life-changing experience.

A Google search for “the one thing that will change your life” returns more than 5 billion results – a testament that we’re living in an age where we believe that one thing can, indeed, be life-changing.


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You’ve seen the headlines: one simple trick to become more productive; the one dress that suits all body types; how doing one thing a day (meditating) will change your life.

I realise that believing in or even relying on that ‘one thing’ to change your life can result in unhealthy thinking because one of two things can happen: you spend your life waiting for that one thing to happen and it never seems to present itself, or when that one thing does happen and it doesn’t deliver the satisfaction you expected, you’re left feeling bitterly disappointed.

And I’ve read countless arguments that doing one thing, such as drinking more water or wearing a well-fitting bra or waking at 5am, can certainly help us yet doesn’t serve as a cure-all.

But I want to challenge this idea because I believe there can be that ‘one thing’ that triggers a life-changing moment: an epiphany, an opportunity, a whole new way of seeing things.

Of course, there is no magic bullet for anything, but it’s hard to deny that many of us haven’t experienced that one decision, one action or one change that has been life-altering.

THE ONE THING THAT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE

The one thing that has, without a doubt, changed my life is seeing a psychologist.

Seeking the guidance of a qualified, clinical expert has not only allowed me to overcome some major life hurdles, it has equipped me with the tools and techniques to tackle future life challenges, of which there have been many.

Beyond addressing specific life events or trauma, seeing a therapist has exposed me to new ways of thinking, helped me to recognise unhealthy emotions and thought patterns, and allowed me to reach a level of self-awareness that didn’t exist pre-therapy.

In my experience, seeing a psychologist has been eye-opening and, while it hasn’t always been easy, it has given me the chance to get real with myself.

And this is why I will continue to speak up about the fact that I have sought the help of a therapist, because once you get beyond the stigma surrounding mental health, a whole new world opens up.

THE CASE FOR MANY ‘ONE THINGS’ THAT ARE LIFE-ALTERING

Perhaps it’s my optimism for a brighter future or the notion that we can all strive for improvement that keeps me believing that there can be single, defining moments that change our lives.

Aside from therapy, I can think of many other examples of single things that have occurred in my life that have put me on a new path: moving overseas, quitting a job that was making me unhappy, leaving a toxic relationship.

Each of these ‘one things’ have made a definable and measurable difference to my life, despite the fact that they have been challenging, complex, and not-at-all simple acts.

These solitary decisions, actions or changes can be different things for different people.

Perhaps it’s the moment you started taking anti-anxiety medication to better cope with the day-to-day, or the day you began leaving your phone in another room while you sleep, or the time you decided to ditch digital devices for a few hours each week to refocus your mind.

When writing this story, I reached out to some friends and asked what were ‘one things’ that changed their lives and I received these responses: “saying yes to big opportunities before knowing the details”, “deciding to stay in a long-distance relationship because that person is now my husband”, “doing a semester abroad in Mexico” and “quitting my job and moving abroad”.

These ‘one things’ are all proof that change is possible, even if there are hurdles involved.

For me, believing that single acts can produce life-changing results is part of the wonder of life; the little miracles or magic moments that give us profound meaning or clarity.

This article first appeared on She Defined.