Change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle, and in the end, the baby has fresh diapers.
Growing up, ‘change’ is limited to ideas around puberty and maturity. Your idea of life is limited. Then comes a moment when your idea of change expands. The point is when you get all emo and say, “That [moment/person/book] changed my life.”
You are exposed to a new idea of life. This could happen through a book, a person, an experience, or as it happened with me: an experience I had while watching a person read a book. These moments become formative. They are what you will remember until something/someone else exposes you to a bigger idea of life. Broadly, what you remember about life makes up these points of exposure to the single fact that there’s a lot more to life than you think.
Life’s great for a few weeks after that moment. People may or may not notice, but you feel unstoppable. Then, normalcy returns. The excitement fades; you realize there are still a lot of mundane things to answer to; you still get angry and frustrated and eat way too much Cheese. You start searching for the next big moment to come by to change your life. You realize you are still talking about that one moment that happened five years ago. Nothing life-changing seems to have happened since. Your life has stagnated. So, you go into this manic streak of seminars, books, courses, and networking – all hoping something will change your life.
And I think now’s a good time to tell you: nothing will change your life! In fact, nothing ever changed your life. That moment that you think ‘changed your life’ only showed you that change is possible. You made the change happen.
Yeah, that’s right: you are a hero!
You think you just stood there watching as some book/person magically made the change happen? There’s a quote that goes, “If the student is ready, the teacher appears.” You are hoping for a teacher somewhere to get ready so that you can appear in front of them and let the magic work itself again. It’s not stupid, it’s lazy. If there’s one place where you need to go “it ain’t braggin’ if izz true,” it is during those life-changing moments. The moment that changed your life was the time you decided that you would do something about this new possibility you were exposed to. You could’ve closed the book, not listened to some random guy on the internet and continued living your life. You didn’t. You decided to change.
This is not some feel-good post about how awesome you are and why you must celebrate today with cheese pizza with extra cheese. It’s a feel-bad post about how you did something wonderful once and forgot you were capable of doing it again; how you gave away your ability to change to some external; how you made a dream come true and went back to sleep.
When I saw my brother engrossed in a book for four hours, I wished I could read like that someday. After having read a grand total of ten books in the first twenty years of my life, I finally read all of Harry Potter in a couple of months. I went around telling people how the books changed my life. And then I was frustrated when other books didn’t do that to me. Reading went from a reason to dream to an excuse to doing nothing – to remain unchanged.
If there’s one big dream that you (and I) have been able to achieve in life, it’s that moment of change. The moment wasn’t life-changing because it happened. It was life-changing because you decided to do something about it when it happened. Don’t wait for something to come by to change your life. You were a Hero once.