Let me take a moment to summarize the main point of thousands of leadership, self-help, dieting, marriage, parenting and tons of other books that span literally millions of pages. Just about all of them can be boiled down to one big thing: changing your mindset from “I’ve always done it that way” to “I’m willing to try something different.” In other words, those books are all about making a positive change.
I know I’m usually pretty pointed when I write articles for you guys, but today I want to do a bit of rambling on the topic of change and the decision of whether or not to change. What prompts me to write about that? In short, Stacy and I are going through so many life changes right now that we’re having a hard time keeping up! I also talk with people nearly every day who struggle to make a change because they are paralyzed by the unknown. More accurately, they are paralyzed by their FEAR of the unknown. They ask questions like, “what happens if I can’t find a job by the end of the month when our savings runs out?” or, “which college should I attend?” and expect me to give them the answer. Those are pretty serious questions and honestly, there are tons of possible answers. Here’s the thing: as Jon Acuff wrote in one of my favorite recent reads, Quitter, “…not doing anything is its own decision, and the odds of failure are horrible.” But people get so caught up in the fear of making a choice that they make no choice at all, or almost as bad, they default back to “I’ve always done it that way” thinking when something has caused that approach to stop working. So what’s the answer?
Some will tell you that you need more education. Others will promise you need their three-step plan. Then you’ll be told all you need is ___________ (Jesus, love, money, a spouse, relaxation, etc.) to make everything better. While each of those things may have some value in helping you live a better life, I’ve watched over and over and over again that the most powerful catalyst to change is this: decide to do it. Yep, in most cases it is really that simple. If I were writing a book, I’d make you read 300 or so pages of my deeper explanation on all of that, but since I’m not ready to write another book (so many of you still need to read my first one!), I’ll keep my remaining thoughts on this subject fairly brief and let our discussion continue through the comments.
How do you make a decision to change? Look at what matters. Every one of us is given the same 24 hours each day. What we do with it is largely up to us. Before you argue with me, think about it. You have the option to skip work today. You could NOT care for your child(ren) and stay in bed if you so chose. You could sit down and read that book collecting dust on the shelf or build your own version of an awesome idea Stacy shared with you from Pinterest (am I the only husband who has mixed feelings about all that – there are lots of “honey-do” projects that can come out of Stacy browsing Pinterest). You could exercise. You could clean the house. Although it may sound obvious, you have a huge amount of power to decide what you do each day. It is up to you to exercise that power and work through the consequences (good or bad). You simply have to decide what is most important to you at a given moment and act on that thing. As you start doing more of what matters and less of what doesn’t, you’re making positive life change. See how easy that was?
I know, I know, it isn’t easy at all. I’m writing this as much for my benefit as yours. As I write this, I realize I have this huge list of things to be done at our new home before we can move in. We have a baby on the way. I have a wife who needs real conversation, love and caring from me. I have a daughter who needs me to play with her, train her and instill discipline in her. I have a job that demands my attention if I want a paycheck. I have a truck needing an oil change and a few minor repairs. I have TOO MUCH TO DO…just like you. What’s important and what matters? The best way to change for the better is to ask yourself those questions and then act on whatever you come up with as the answers.