Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unsticking

Both in my line of work and in my personal life, I get quite a few requests for advice. The most common of those requests is from someone looking to make a significant change. The motivators are often negative, like getting laid off, or having a relationship fail. In my experience this is because most people are reactive, instead of proactive about many aspects of their lives. Yes, I am aware that I fall into this category pretty often, just like the next guy.

Recently my regular self-examination led me to realize that I too was getting stuck. Essentially, I was reacting to situations around me, instead of being deliberate about my choices. It seemed like a good idea therefore to give myself a recap on some fundamentals. I've included them in this post for those who might also find it helpful.

Grab A Habit
In this case I'm not talking about a nuns attire, but rather a practice or activity that you exercise every day. You might like something active like pilates, yoga, or swimming. Or perhaps you choose to write or do a puzzle. The actual habit isn't important, only that you establish some consistency. You need consistency so that your input and analytical processes can take a breather for a while. Doing something routine can help smooth the process of adopting changes.

Know Your Motivations
If you want to get somewhere else, it helps to know where you are and where you've been. You need to be very honest and clear about your situation and your future. It is important to understand what has been motivating you and driving your world view, because that is producing the situation and circumstances in which you find yourself.

Embrace Reality
The hardest thing most people will ever do is face the truths about themselves. You see this mirrored in the number of people who fear public speaking, and the lengths people go to hide themselves and their natures. Being able to accept yourself for precisely the person you have been will allow you to exert control over your own behaviors. We often need to be released from our own constraints and misconceptions so we can see the world as it truly is which is a requirement to be able to move fluidly within it. When walking around your house in the dark, don't pretend it isn't a cluttered mess. Rather know intimately where each pile and obstacle lies so that you can navigate smoothly.

Experience The Change
The best part of self-evolution is the process you will go through. Don't focus solely on the end-game. Drink in and savor each new habit, each new challenge, each little success. This doesn't just serve as a check-point to make sure you are on track. It's a vital part of growing and necessary for self-awareness. So relax and open yourself to the adventures. You won't just be more effective, you'll be more likeable and will like more as well.

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