“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” – Leo Tolstoy.
It never crossed my mind to change the world until I realized I could do it simply by changing myself (sorry Tolstoy). A few years ago, as I was becoming aware of the possibilities life has to offer, I reached a stalemate with the “why should I?” question. “Why should I pursue big goals? Why should I go through all the trouble necessary to create my ideal life? Why go through all the pain and struggle?”
Old answer to an old question
In the self development world, the most popular answer to this question was Brian Tracy’s “why not?” This answer did not sit well with me. “Why not!? I’ll tell you why not: because becoming a millionaire takes a ton of work; because finding THE right spouse is a pain; because broccoli tastes awful; because change is hard!” So I came up with my own answer which sounded something like this: “Even if making big goals is a whole lot harder than living a chilled life, I want to know how far I can reach. I want to see what I am capable of. Besides, we only live once; so why not?” (I hated the last part).
Are sweets tastier than broccoli?
I have always thought that creating the life I want for myself would be harder than going with the flow of society… until today. I’ve been on a relatively healthy diet for a while now. Today, I bought some candy for my sister in law and “accidentally” ate a few. They tasted sweet (as expected), but there was something else in the mix, something which mildly irritated my mouth and throat. I could taste the chemicals. Six year ago, I could have eaten half a pound and still crave for more. Why the sudden change? The answer lies in our bodies’ ability to adapt. Within reasonable conditions we can adapt to just about anything. If you start eating a bag of candy every day, from now on, your body will get used to it. This means you will no longer feel sick from too much candy. You’ll begin to like eating large amounts of candy; you’ll begin to crave it. The same thing goes for broccoli. You might hate it now, but if you force yourself to eat it every day, for a sufficient amount of time, you will get used to it. After a while longer, you’ll start to like it. After a bit more, you’ll want it. In both cases the body will get used to the new substance and recognize it as food. On the other hand, it will see substances which you haven’t eaten for a while as unfamiliar/foreign/strange (it will forget that they are eatable).
Candy does not taste better than broccoli; it just tastes differently
If your body is trained to eat sweets and you suddenly give it vegetables it will want to throw up. Similarly, if you’ve been on a veggie based diet for moths/years and you suddenly grab some candy, you won’t like the taste. My parents, for example, were not raised with that much candy; therefore, they rarely eat it. Even when they buy a whole bunch and it’s just sitting on a shelf, they don’t touch it (which is against their principle of not wasting food). It’s only a matter of what you’re used to eating (and you can get yourself used to anything). But don’t people naturally like the taste of sugar? The fact that we have an inclination towards energy rich foods makes it easier to fall into a candy diet and harder to climb towards a veggie one. For example: if it takes 10 veggies to get you accustomed to a veggie diet, it would only take 4 sweets to get you into a sugar one (hypothetically speaking). Nonetheless, once the habits are in place (once your body has gotten accustomed to the new diet) you will not crave sweets, even if they’re right in front of you. When you stop being exposed to something for a long time, the connections your mind used to automatically make for that “something” begins to fade. Your body will have forgotten that sweets=energy. And, since it does not know what to make of the object in front of you, it will ask your conscious mind for clarification. And your conscious mind (you) will tell it that sweets=chemicals=fat=bad stuff. So, when you are indulging in candy, you are not sacrificing your health for the taste. Healthy stuff would taste just as good (if not better), if you would just get into the habit of eating healthy. You are chipping away at your health for no good reason (because you are unwilling to change). The same goes for your choice in careers.
Why becoming a millionaire is easier than working at a car wash
I tried working at a car wash a few weeks ago. It wasn’t really that hard. The only issue was that you could potentially get ill from working in such a wet environment. But the work itself was easy and there were only 20-30 cars a day. Why would anybody bother going for a career or starting a business when they can just get a job washing cars? Why go through all the trouble? While there was one fellow who just started working, most of the employees had at least 1 years experience with the company. At the end of each day I would hear the same words said by a colleague: “This day too was so long …” You see, the job was easy, but … it was boring. You would sit all day doing nothing, waiting for a car to arrive, 6 days out of 7, from 8 A.M. to 7 P.M. This got me thinking. Let’s say I’d work at this car wash for the rest of my life. That would mean spending 6 out of 7 days being plain bored. I would look back at my life and sigh of boredom. My life would be dedicated to washing cars. My life’s work would be keeping my towns cars clean. The majority of my time would consist not of raising my kids, being with my spouse/friends or having fun, but of sleeping in my bed or sitting around in the carwash. And this is considered an easy job. The average man/woman spends most of his/her day/night either in their bed or at work. The time you spend sleeping is kind of meaningless. Its only point is to recharge your batteries. The time that really makes life worth living is your waking hours (most of which you spend at your job). So, if you choose a boring job, you will spend most of your life being bored. If you choose a backbreaking job, you will spend the most of your life breaking your back. What a way to live…
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”~Confucius
For quite a while I’ve been reading things like: Regardless of money, choose a job/career/business you’ll love. I finally understand what that means. I used to think choosing a random job and just going with the flow is easier than working your way towards the good life. I realize now that: I would much rather work my ass of doing something I enjoy and believe in than sit on my ass all day selling vegetables. I’ve had 10 times as much fun setting up my website than I had sitting on a chair waiting for the next car to arrive (and it took me 3 days of “smashing” my head against the keyboard with 4 hours of sleep in between). Why would anybody make the conscious decision to spend most of their waking hours doing work which they find pointless? Why would anybody choose to spend most of their days being bored, frustrated, tired and just plain miserable? For the money? To survive?
“Some people live their lives while most just barely live”~Daniel Colisnicencu
Most of your time is invested in your work. Therefore, whatever that work is, that is what your life revolves around. A stay at home moms’ main accomplishment is her children. An entrepreneur’s main accomplishment is his business. An architect’s main achievements in life are his/her buildings and a plumber’s main achievement is clean, functional pipes. I give my greatest respect to those who dig holes or pump gas and are proud of it; to those who have made it their life’s purpose through conscious decision and action. Your life revolves around whatever it is you do most. So, make sure it revolves around what you care for most. I always thought that going for what I want would be harder than sticking to what’s safe because it requires more work. But that’s not true. We all work. Even a beggar must beg in order to make a living. The choice has never been between working and not working. It has never been between doing easy work or hard work. Your choices are: Do work of meaning (work you love) or do pointless work (in which you see no real purpose). If your work has meaning to you, it will seem easy (even when it’s hard). On the other hand, all pointless work (regardless of how simple it is) feels difficult, boring, tiring. How much meaning do you find in your work? Do you see yourself doing what you’re doing for the rest of your life? All actions are taken in the present moment. Get to it, now!
About the Author
Colisnicencu Daniel is a teacher, karate-ka, aspiring writer and entrepreneur. Four years ago, he discovered personal development and vowed to change his life. How many adults have actually grown up and how many of us are overgrown babies? Learn how “big” you actually are at his website: www.growupproper.com