Monday, January 12, 2009

Nothing Changes Until Something Changes

I've never met a lazy person. I often meet folks who are stuck or frustrated, or who seem to go in directions that make no sense to me, but I've never met anyone who doesn't want more of some things and less of something else. As the Dalai Lama notes, we are designed to move toward happiness and away from suffering. We're built that way.

I have noticed with increasing frequency, however, that we often work really hard to accomplish very little. We are a stubborn lot! We try and try, and try again, even though our favorite strategy isn't working, and there is little evidence it will ever work. And yet, we keep on trying.

Most of the people who will read this actually live pretty comfortable lives. You have a computer. You are educated and have job skills. You may live in a wealthy country, are probably fairly healthy, and the essentials of life--food, clothing, shelter, perhaps even a savings plan--are taken care of. So, it might make sense to be quite content and to want very little.

But that is not what I hear from cold calls. We are a very ambitious group! We want more money, more time, more personal fulfillment, more satisfying work, and so forth. We are restless, and I love that!

But it also raises the obvious question, Why aren't we getting the things we say we want?

We live in a golden age of opportunity and plenty. Over any 5-year period, you can have, see, do or become just about anything you desire. You can visit Antarctica or places you most desired. Or as documented in the Discovery Channel: 1000 Places You Must Visit Before You Die. You can get an advanced degree, become wealthy, run a marathon, start a band, or move to Alaska. There are no limits!

So, why aren't we getting the things we say we want?

My blunt answer is this: Many of us are using ineffective strategies. We have goals or desires or dreams, but we are pursuing them with strategies that have almost no chance of succeeding. We have been "trying" for years without success, and yet we keep on doing the same things in the same ways, year after year. That is really dumb!

If you are not reaching your goal, you have two basic choices: change your goal, or change your strategy. You either "get this" or you don't. What more can I say?

The reality is that you CAN be happy in this life. You can make money, if that is your goal. You can raise happy, healthy kids if that is your dream. You can build a huge company or start a charitable foundation. You can write a book or teach high school or do whatever fills your heart with joy.

But to have those things in your life, something must change. If your current strategy isn't working, tell the truth about that. If you've had a major goal for more than a year and it isn't happening, ask why not! Question your approach. Get better advice. Do something different!

And, above all, acknowledge the things that have to change in order to make room for your goal to arrive. Who will you have to become? What will you have to stop doing? Who or what will have to exit your life in order for new realities to be at home in your world?

Nothing will change until something changes. What steps or changes will move you forward this week? What must you read or learn? What must you do, or stop doing? What must you invest? Who should you call, or stop calling? If your dreams and goals are truly important to you, do one thing different this week. Take a step. Try a new way. Just do it!

"If you can DREAM it, you can DO it." -- Walt Disney

"People begin to become successful the minute they decide to be." -- Harvey MacKay"

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"It only takes one person to change your life - Y O U." -- Ruth Casey