What will you change today?

November 8, 2022

I recently collected a number of quotes on change and think that a few go well together for today’s post. Change is happening all the time and all around us. Just think of the changes that today will bring in our political environment. We spend much of our time reacting to change, but today’s quotes focus on being pro-active about change.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Barack Obama

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” — Roy T. Bennett

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” — Abraham Maslow

“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.” — Georg C. Lichtenberg

We must start as President Obama states by deciding that we are not going to sit around and wait for change to come to us. We are the change agent. Change starts with us.

Next, we must acknowledge that we may be resisting change because we are unwilling to leave our comfort zone, to take the chances that change involves as Bennett advised. We become to comfortable with the safety of staying put and do not even try to move forward.  We let our safe routine become our prisons, trapping us as if we were a mime in his imaginary glass box. Yet if we do not advance and grow, as Maslow puts it, life will leave us behind.

Finally, we need to understand that change is not always going to result in things being better, just different and if we make enough things different, we will eventually get to the better place that we desire.

So, the question becomes, “What will you change today?” What things can we change in our day-to-day life that will challenge our comfort zone and allow us to grow?

Maybe we can decide to greet strangers differently; not trying to remain safe by avoiding interacting with them, but, rather, greeting them with a warm “Hello, how are you?” and a smile. How did that make you feel? How did that change you?

Perhaps you can try a new place to have lunch, perhaps someplace with an ethnic food menu. You will experience new tastes and see new people that you don’t normally meet. Was that an interesting experience? Did you like the new flavors that you experienced? Did you meet some new people? How did that change you?

The point is to acknowledge and become more aware that what you think of as your daily routine is, by definition, your comfort zone. Staying in that comfort zone means staying as you are and not growing as a person, not being all that you could be.

You may be thinking, “I’m happy where I am, why should I disturb things by making changes?”  Maybe two more quotes from my collection will help answer that question.

 “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” — Henri Bergson

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” — Harold Wilson

Quite simply we cannot stop change from occurring, nor should we try. Instead, resolve to the agent of change in your life rather than being a by-stander and always reacting to the changes that are inevitable.

But what should you change?

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” — Wayne W. Dyer

Maybe what you need to change today is your attitude.

What will move you to take that chance?

November 2, 2022

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.

Can’t stop it…gotta love it…

October 24, 2022

I received this graphic today in a daily feed that I get for my real estate business. I have to admit that the word “love” is not the first thing that comes to mind for me when confronted with change. Fear, maybe. Anxiety, certainly. Excitement, maybe. But love – not really.

I’m not sure that I’ll ever see change as beautiful; however, I am trying to deal with the inevitability of change is a better way than fear or anxiety. Perhaps the excitement factor of change is the aspect that would allow us to love it. Heading into unknown waters with a sense of wonder and excitement allows us to put aside our fears and refocus on making the real-time decisions needed in the moment. The old saw – Live in the Moment- is essentially living through the changes, big and small, that are constantly occurring in our lives.

If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that life without changes can get boring pretty fast. We need changes to keep us challenged and motivated. We also need it to keep learning. Life is not a boring straight line. It is full of twists and turns, of things unexpected and things not turning out as planned. Many of those things can be humorous (witness the success of the America’s Funniest Home Videos TV show) and all of them provide learning opportunities.

walking man

Changes may take old friends out of our lives, but they also bring new friends into it. Changes may redirect our careers, sometimes ending one only to provide the start to another. We may see changes as good or bad but in reality, they are just things that are different. We can’t stop changes, so we might as well get used to them and get on with our new lives. We might not love change but we can’t stop living due to change. Maybe we should start each day with the thought, “Well this is different. What good can I do with this?” Seeing change as an exciting challenge each day may help you get over your fears or anxiety and help you focus on meeting those challenges and you’ve got to love that.

Change. Can’t stop it…gotta love it!

Take the chance to change today…

October 17, 2022

It’s Monday, so you have a new chance to, and a new week in which to, change your life. Every day and every week start with a blank map to where you will end up. Each change that you consciously make changes the trajectory of your life, no matter how small.

There was an attention-grabbing story in the new recently about the crashing of a small spacecraft into a huge asteroid in order to see how that might change the trajectory of the asteroid. The experiment was conducted to see if we might be able to prevent a collision of an asteroid with earth by altering its path. The experiment was deemed a success and pointed to a way to protect Earth from possible cataclysmic asteroid strikes like those thought to have killed off the dinosaurs.  

I bring that up because people often think that they must make big changes to their lives all at once in order to change their trajectories. That is not true, but it prevents many from even trying. The fact is that we can effect big changes by doing a series of little things, each of which provides a nudge away from what seemed to be our old destiny.

I think a key is found in believing the message in today’s graphic that each day brings a new opportunity to change your life is some way, no matter how small. Those changes will add up over time.

Perhaps the change that you make will be to smile and say hello to a stranger today. That doesn’t sound like much, but that smile, and greeting could make a big difference in that person’s day and you making the effort will make a difference in your day. That difference will nudge you in a new direction.

Just taking the time each morning to think about making some small change in your life will result in changes to what might have happened during the day. It also changes you from being into reactive mode to a more pro-active mode. That in itself will change your life.

So, take the chance to change today. Think about it and then make it happen. Welcome to the new you!

Who are you becoming? Keep your hopes alive.

July 24, 2022

I saw this quote recently and just loved it, because it is such a great positive message of hope –

“I have hope in who I am becoming.”  (Charlotte Erikson)

Shortly after saving that quote, I got this graphic in a daily email that I get –

What a great message it carries, too.

I don’t think that you necessarily have to come to a cathartic event, such as entering the chrysalis state like the caterpillar does when it turns into a butterfly, in order to change and become the butterfly that you hope to be. The point is to consciously decide to make the commitment to the changes in your life that will alter the trajectory of it. Commit to turning into the new you.

Women may find the illusion to changing into a butterfly easier to accept than men, but the point is not one of changing one’s outer beauty so much as the inner you changing to become a better and more beautiful person inside – a person that others want to be around and an example for others to follow.

Maybe you can start each day with a little prayer such as,” God give me the strength and perseverance to become the person that I know that I can be.”  Just putting yourself in that frame of mind each morning will make each day better and get you one step closer to who you are becoming.

So, have hope in who you are becoming and welcome the change; not into a butterfly, but into the new and improved you. It’s a beautiful thing.

Change you and change the world…

July 15, 2022

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “We’re told that ‘You can’t change the world.’, but the world is changing every day.  The only question is…Who’s changing it?  You or someone else?”  (J. Michael Straczynski)

That quote almost immediately brought to mind the quote, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” That quote is often mistakenly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi; but, according to Quote Investigator, what Gandhi actually said was:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”

Gandhi passed away in 1948, and Quote Investigator went on to report that the first sources of the abbreviated quote appeared many years later in 1974 within a self-help book chapter written by educator Arleen Lorrance. It was called the Love Project and stated:

One way to start a preventative program is to be the change you want to see happen.”

Quote Investigator wne on to state that it took a couple of years more — until 1987 — when a Santa Fe, New Mexico Newspaper article about a self-help group organized by Mary Lou Cook was quoted as saying that the inspiration to form such a group came from a statement by Gandhi: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

The attribution of that quote to Gandhi has stuck ever since, even though he never said it in that way.

Even so, Gandhi’s thought that we control the change in the world by controlling our reactions to those change puts us back in control of the change that is going on in the world. Change happens every day all over the world and you see or experience only a tiny bit of it. The key to the impact that you will have on the changes that are occurring is your conscious effort to react to them. One can benignly accept the changes that are occurring or one can choose to do something about them – either in a positive and reinforcing way for changes that we agree with, or with a negative and resistive effort to fight against those changes with which we disagree.

So, how you “be the change that you want to see in the world” is that you react to those changes by making changes of your own to your own life. You become an activist, rather than standing passively by and watching the changes occur. Maybe you take up a sign and join a march for or against something. Maybe you volunteer to work for the election of someone. Maybe you donate to a cause to join a fund-raising effort for that cause. The point is that you react to those changes and by reacting you cause change in yourself and in the world.

So, it turns out that you are the change that you were hoping to see in the world. Start with you. Change your attitude to the things happening in the world around you and you will see the world differently because you changed. Additionally, the world will see you differently.

Change you and change the world.

Take a moment to reflect and appreciate, and then move on…

June 3, 2022

A quote that I kept from the Jack’s Winning Words blog seemed to resonate this morning – “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves.”  (Anatole France)

Anyone who has ever changed jobs, had a friend move away or lost a loved one understands the feeling of melancholy that France refers to. It is the loss of relationships, in lobs or other areas of life that are changing that usually causes those feelings. We don’t necessarily miss the actual job so much as the people with whom we have worked. There is a comfort in seeing the same people day after day and sharing the good and bad of the situation with them. One doesn’t commiserate or celebrate by themselves.

The feelings of melancholy can be especially strong if the thing coming to an end or changing is something that we are heavily invested in emotionally. The failure of a company (and thus the job) that we might have fought valiantly to make successful is an example. Another is the closing of a play or theater production in which we had a role. When one has been pouring their heart and soul into an activity for a while (no matter how short the time) and it ends, one cannot help but be melancholy.

But life is fully of these moments. One might even say that life is made up of a series of these moments. It is critical to one’s mental health that they be able to accept these events, find a place for them in their memories and move on. Being able to reflect on the time and emotional intensity that you committed to the events or people involved is important.  One needs to sort out the proper place in their memories for those events and people and then accept that those moments and relationships are in the past. You might maintain contact with your old co-workers, but the relationships will never be the same as it was and that’s OK; that’s life.

walking man

If there are lessons to be learned from the time that you spent, tuck those away for future use, too. For, while we leave behind a part of ourselves in those memories, they also helped us grow and become the person who now faces the future. There will be new friends to make, new job and life challenges to meet and new things to which to devote yourself. Perhaps you will stop and fondly remember someone from the past who taught you a life lesson that you are now applying in your new situation. That will not be a melancholy moment so much as a moment of joyful recollection and appreciation. Savor those moments and move on.

The only constant in life is change. The better we can accept change, deal with change, and use change to grow, the better our lives will be. Yes, the play is over, the old job is gone, an old relationship has ended; but you are still here. There will be new plays. There will be new jobs. There will always be new people to meet and new relationships to form. Take a moment to reflect and appreciate what was and then move on with the here and now.

Don’t get stuck in the melancholy of the past, there are too many exciting things and people ahead today.

Be the difference…

December 11, 2021

You can add to the message of the graphic that it not what you say but what you do that makes a difference. Knowing that something is wrong and even saying that something is wrong does little to change things. Taking action to bring about those changes is the only thing that counts.

Very often the things that may bother us as being wrong are much larger than just something that we can personally fix or right, and there is a tendency to let that put us off doing anything at all. Your actions may take the form of joining a protest march or writing a letter to authorities or maybe to your local paper. Change is often brough about through educational efforts to point out the wrong and making suggestions for fixing them.

The important things is not to let the size of the problem overwhelm your inclination to help. Food insecurity (we used to call it hunger) and homelessness are big, widespread problems, but they manifest themselves locally in smaller groups that you can impact by your own actions. Volunteering at your local food bank or at a local shelter helps with the problem in your neighborhood. If every neighborhood had groups and volunteers working on the problem, it would certainly be less than it is. At least you can be a part of the solution instead of just knowing or talking about the problem.

The next time you find yourself thinking about (or talking about) something that need attention or help, ask yourself, “So, what can I do about that?” Then don’t let yourself be put off by the size or pervasiveness of the problem. Keep thinking smaller and smaller until you think of something that you can do and do it. When you see a person in need, take action, not pity.

Be the difference…

What will you change today?

November 29, 2021

You woke up this morning. Great. Now what? It is a new day and a new chance to make changes in your life. It is a chance to forgive yourself for some past mistake and heed the advice of that great philosopher Alice Cooper, who said – “Mistakes are part of the game. It’s how well you recover from them, that’s the mark of a great player.”

The changes that you make each day don’t have to be big ones. In fact, trying to make huge changes in your life often leads to failure. However, making small incremental changes each day can alter the course of your life over time. Even seemingly inconsequential things like changing your route to get to work can have an impact by providing you with a different perspective on things. Wearing different clothes than you would “normally” wear puts you in a different frame of mind. Talking with someone that you would usually just walk by without acknowledgement may provide new insights into the seemingly ordinary things in life.

You do not need to just be focused upon correcting mistakes in your life. Many times, just finally acknowledging that you made a mistake and taking ownership of it is a difference maker. Sometimes, when you think about a mistake that you made in the past, you realize the impact that it had on the course of your life and can consciously decide if you want to get back on that original course. Career decisions are sometimes made that way.

Aside from dealing with mistakes, giving some thought to what you might need to change in your life is a positive thing. No one is perfect, so there may be little things that you can pay attention to, in order to improve. For many people, it is just resolving to make the effort to be more open and friendly to strangers that can open up their lives to a richer and more satisfying existence. For some is might be heeding the advice of Martin Fraquhar Tupper – “Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.”  

The point is to make the decision to change something in your life today and see where that decision takes you. It is bound to be somewhere you would not have ended up if you had not made that change. If it turns out to be a mistake; well, that’s what tomorrow’s change can address. That is what makes life interesting.

What will you change today?

What’s around the corner for you?

November 25, 2021

There is certainly the possibility of something different around every corner or over every hill. The optimist sees exciting opportunities ahead while the pessimist sees nothing but danger. What do you “see” when you are approaching a corner or a hill in your life?

All visions of the future are formed in our imaginations. You can imagine great and wonderful things to come, or you can foresee painful disasters, and both can come true. If you could choose, which would you prefer? The thing is that you can choose, at least for the imagining part.

Optimists aren’t necessarily born with a smile on their face. They develop a positive outlook on life as they mature by making positive choices and consciously deciding to live with a positive attitude. A big part of arriving at a positive state of mind is having a strong faith upon which to base that optimism. People without faith have nothing upon which to stand in the face of opposition or hardship; however, those with faith turn to God for strength and reassurance.

Not everything may be going right just now, but there is another bend or hill ahead and those with faith know that God will be waiting on the other side, and everything will be alright when you get there. Even if the curve or hill ahead is death, people of faith know that there is something wonderful on the other side for them.

What’s around the corner or over the hill for you? You can approach those changes with confidence when you have faith in God.