I knew a guy once who used to say “well I’m just like that, that’s just who I am,” at least twice during every conversation we ever had.
This meant that, as the years wore on, he never did anything new. Everything was filtered through the thought “is this who I really am? Am I a guy that does something like that?” Then he’d go inside, look for a memory of something he had experienced that might be similar, and if he didn’t find one he’d refuse to participate.
You could say that this was his Ego dominating his life. His current state was the perfect state, and must not be touched.
Most people sense the inherent danger in this. To truly live and extend oneself, you must leave your comfort zone. You must do something wonderful and new even if it “isn’t you”. The alternative is to lead a stagnate, colourless life.
Recently I was reminded that there is another step. Dipping your toe in unfamiliar waters just to see what is there is only the beginning.
What if there’s something you want to do that is radically different than the way you’ve been your whole life? What if you want to learn a new language, or become a musician, or an aerobics instructor? What if there’s absolutely nothing in your entire life that would indicate you could pull any of that off, but you’ve decided that it’s something you want?
First of all, if you’re on the fence about something like this, I hereby encourage you to go for it. Life is far too long to spend it suffering in the hell that is “what if”.
Next, spend a half-hour every single day doing the new thing. Now, your life won’t accommodate the new thing because you don’t currently do the new thing. That isn’t who you are. But if you want it to become this new person who does this thing, then something else is going to have to be removed for a half-hour a day.
This is where the sacrifice of who you were comes in. Something in your life is going to have to go away so that you can replace it with this new thing.
That might be easy. After all, you might be the kind of guy who spends 3 hours watching TV every night. Now you can be a 2 hour a night kind of guy. That’ll be just the way you are.
Or, it might be hard. You might be pushed for family time, work time, and your volunteer work on top of all of the housework that never seems to be caught up. If that’s the case, either your work hours or the volunteer hours need shaving back, or someone else is going to have to handle more housework. In any case, you’re going to have to pick something and let it go.
Or, it might be nearly impossible. You might be trying to change a habit or get over a phobia that has controlled you all your life. Letting go of these things you do in favor of NOT doing them is tough. Still, people do it every day. You just have to decide to do it, figure out what you want to replace it with, and go out there to find the help you need to cross the finish line.
No matter what the case, however, everything is always possible as long as you’re willing to let go of your old life in favor of the new one. To our Ego, that sounds a bit like dying. It will fight back with anger and fear and bitter cynical “but you don’t understand” nonsense. Ignore it, and change anyway.
Kill the Ego definition of who you are, and give birth to the new Ego definition of who you are becoming.
Just one last thought: the things we say and do in a day define us. Thinking and dreaming don’t count. So if you’ve read a new book and adopted a new philosophy, more power to you, but you haven’t changed unless either your actions or your words have. Don’t let the Ego trick you into thinking that simply wishing will make it so!
Now. The world is yours. How would you like to enjoy it?
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