As happens many times, a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog this morning provides the inspiration for this post –
You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.” (Zig Ziglar)
Pastor Freed often uses quotes from Ziglar in his blog. This quote seemed to go nicely together with the headline from an article that I saved –
Which is Stronger – Outside Pressure to Change? Or your Internal Drive to Transform? (Headline on an article I saw recently)
Outside pressure to make changes in our lives is a very strong motivator, whether that change is something like how we act, some bad habit that we have, or maybe even how we look. Most people have a desire (some might even say a “need”) to be accepted by their peers. If we become conscious of disapproval from those around us, we are forced to at least look at what it is that they don’t like about what they see.
The recognition of that disapproval from those around us can provoke our “fight or flight” reaction mechanism – sometimes both at the same time. I suspect that the whole Goth movement in youth is both a rebellion against main-stream peer pressure to conform to peer group standards for body image and appearance style and a flight into the acceptance of an alternative lifestyle group.
What Ziglar was pointing out is that we all must make choices about things in our lives that represent inflection points – points at which change will redirect the course of our lives. Most of these decision points have both external and internal forces at play. If there is no external reason to change, no peer pressure or societal law or standard to consider, it is totally up to our internal desire for change. Career changes come immediately to mind, although some “careers” such as being a drug dealer have strong societal disapproval as external factors.
One’s internal drive to transform is usually strongly influenced by what we call our “good conscious”, our ability to distinguish between right and wrong and our desire to be on the “right side”. Most of those decisions aren’t given a lot of thought because we just “know” what the right thing to do is and do it automatically.
Some things, like quitting smoking, have both components in the decision process. Society took a dim view of smoking some time back and there was certainly enough proof of it bad effects on us to give pause to any smoker for self-reflection and the need for change. We continue to see external factors at work today in on-gong ads that now are also influencing decision on things like Vaping and alcohol and drug use.
A good time for self-reflection and to consider taking the chance to change is every morning while you are getting ready for the day ahead. If you start your day with morning prayers, maybe add this to those prayers. Take a moment to consider that you have yet to commit (or submit) to your normal routine today, which may contain some bad habits or pre-dispositions that you’d really like to change. Resolve to change something about yourself today that will make you a better person. Ask God for His help if you are praying (I usually just ask God to help me make petter decisions during the day). Then set out to make a conscious effort to effect those changes.
You may not (in most cases will not) be completely successful in changing your life in one day, but you can be successful in nudging it off the path that you were on and heading it in a slightly different direction – celebrate even that slight change and increase your resolve (your internal drive) for tomorrow.
Take the chance to change today. You are on the way to a new you. You will find more acceptance in society, and you will feel better about yourself. It’s a win-win.