(From Ngina – Am honored to host Maureen Bomett as a guest blogger today. More about Maureen at the end of this post)
“Don’t change the player, change the game.”
I recently heard these words in a movie. In life I often want the players to change. Not me. Them.
For example, I want my boss and colleagues to change. At home, I want my siblings to change.
Yet change begins with me.
In all these circumstances, I am an outside force who cannot make others change against their will. I happen to be the common factor – the only person that can actually change.
Jim Rohn says “The only change that is really going to dramatically affect your life is you”.
Any true change begins with me.
This is how Marcel Proust phrased it,
“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”
Simply put, if you change nothing, nothing changes.
How do we look at ‘the old lands with new eyes’?
Here are three ways:
1. Admit it
Problems persist because we deny them.
And what makes a problem big is simply that it’s yours.
If you found yourself in the hospital with an injury, would you walk around, pointing out the injuries of others in the emergency room? Or would you be making a beeline to the doctor’s office to find healing for your own pain?
We tend to have it all wrong when it comes to real life. Everyone has problems. No one is perfect. But we want to fix the the person first before fixing ourselves.
Alcoholics Anonymous have used this in their 12 step program. The first step deals with breaking the cycle of denial and dealing in truth about the situation.
Don’t underestimate the power of admitting any problem. Admit your problem, and then begin the journey to finding a solution.
2. Make the grass greener on your side.
“… if you take the time to water your own grass it would be just as green.” Unknown
You need to take responsibility. If a problem exists, say in a relationship, you are most likely part of the problem. Doesn’t really matter whose fault it was at the beginning. Seek to create solutions.
You make the grass greener on your side by taking the initiative. Do something first.
You must also understand that change is a process, not an event. A Kenyan proverb says, “Little by little fills the pot.” Small changes – in our thoughts, behavior, words – indicate progress.
The entire situation might seem unresponsive at first, but consistent small steps will eventually bear fruit. Remember that the grass does not become green in one day. It has to be planted first. Then nurtured.
3. Distinguish between intentions and expectations
Intentions come from the heart. You take responsibility for your own intentions.
Expectations on the other hand are placed on others. You can hope for something but it’s never guaranteed that you will have it.
Unfulfilled expectations often lead to stress, fear or disappointment while true intentions – the only thing you can really control – will increase your enthusiasm and joy of living.
Learn to sow good seeds. For example, you can decide, “I want to be honest with my boss” instead of “My boss has to be honest with me.” Just as you are a work in progress, the other party is.
Question: How else can you change yourself? Share your thoughts in comments below.
Maureen is a tech enthusiast and writer who is in love with God and new beginnings. Through her writing, she seeks to inspire hope in a fallen world and help others live a fulfilling life. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya. Connect with Maureen on her blog and Twitter.
* Photo by suez92 (creative commons)