The simplest and most fundamentally important concept that I’ve found relates to where change has to start. It’s not complicated in theory, but it has far reaching consequences when you really start applying it.
Simply put, you can’t change the world, only yourself.
I told you it wasn’t complicated.
It’s human nature to expect the world to change to our wants, needs and desires. After all, we’re generally the most important people in our own lives. But the same is true for everyone else. They also have their own wants, needs and desires that don’t necessarily align with our own.
Making A Change
So how do you make a change? Some might say that you need to be more alpha, more assertive, or more controlling. But that aggressive grab is only going to lead to people grabbing back and causing problems.
To really start influencing the world around you effectively you have to look at yourself. Everything you already do influences the world and people to some degree. So if you want to make a change then you just have to alter your part in the interaction.
You could think of it in terms of cause and effect, or Newton’s third law, ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’.
But it all boils down to the same thing.
If you want the world around you to change in some way, the best place to start is with yourself.
Taking the third law analogy, if you do the same action over and over again, you’re going to get the same reaction. If you want a different reaction, if you want the world around you to change in some way, then you need to change your action.
Einstein said it best
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
If you don’t change, if you keep repeating your behaviours and ways of interacting, you’ll get the same responses, the same reactions, the same results. The world you experience now is going to be the world you experience forever.
But if you change, if you alter you’re behaviours or your mindset, then you’ll see the impact. The world and people around you will begin to change. They have to react to the new you, altering their behaviours and thought patterns in response to your changes. You’ll get new responses, reactions and behaviours.
If you make the right changes to yourself, you’ll get the responses and reactions that you’re looking for.
I hope that about now you’re having the same realisation that I did. This simple way of looking at the world means that you’re in control. You have the power to influence the world. You can make the changes you want to see, hear and feel. You just have to figure out what you need to do to get there.
The Only Change That Matters
So what type of change am I talking about? To be clear, I’ll start with what I’m not talking about. Then it should leave a clear image of what I am talking about.
I’m not talking about changing the real, deep down you. The things from your life experience, heritage and values that make you who you are. The things that make you unique and interesting. Don’t go trying to change that type of thing on a whim.
For me, a simple example would be my love of playing board games. I shouldn’t try to change that to please other people. It’s something that makes me who I am.
The only things that you need to consider changing are on the surface. Your habits and behaviours or your ingrained reactions to a situation. They don’t define who you are but they do define your place in the world.
So for me, a behaviour could be how often I play board games. My life would tumble out of control pretty quickly if I let my love of board games take control. I would end up playing every moment of every day and pretty soon I would hate the life that those behaviours would leave me with. So I choose my behaviour and I take control of the situation. I communicate clearly to my loved ones so that they understand how much I enjoy playing and we figure out a balance. For me that means balancing play with other important aspects of my life as well as finding ways to integrate them.
What To Do Next
So I encourage you to turn and face your problems and challenges. To make your mark on the world in the most effective way possible by using choice to put the power in your hands.
Look to yourself and really think about your habits and behaviours. Understand what part they play in your status quo. What could you have done differently in the past and what can you do differently next time? Answer these questions then make the right changes. You’ll soon find that the world has to adapt to the new you and react in new ways.
- You can’t get the world to change – you can only change yourself
- Being the driver of change puts you in control – it gives you power, not other people
- Consider changing habits and behaviours not who you are
- Making the right change to yourself will drive the right change in the world around you