Change Starts with You
What happens when change happens?
Time and effort and understanding are change.
The actions we partake in, the information we attain, the company we keep change us.
But, how do we make sure that we are becoming who we want to be?
It is never a pleasant thing to tell someone you no longer want to do something with them. But, if you go out for drinks with the boys after work each Wednesday and talk about volleyball the entire time surrounded by people who are stagnant professionally, will that change you into the person you want to become?
Maybe. And, there’s nothing against that.
But, maybe not. In which case, you’ll have to change.
I’ll focus on the three parts of personal change that I have identified.
Those three parts of personal change are, again,
1. The things we do
2. The information we attain
3. The company we keep
How do you consciously take action on the changes you have to make or want to make? There are many many many ways, but, here is what has worked for me:
There has to be a desire to change. I think that almost everyone knows that
It begins with acknowledgment and recognition.
We must be self-aware. We must look within ourselves and see what it is that we need to do to change. We need to acknowledge certain things and recognize certain things so that we can change in the way that we would like to.
Beginning with actions, I looked within myself and truly thought about and analyzed what the actions in which I was partaking. I am a very organized, methodical, and structured person. The way that I look at things carries that way.
The first thing that I did was, I paid attention to where my time and energy goes. I looked at my calendar and I looked at my planner. I thought about the actions that I partook in and the things that I did.
After some analysis, I recognized some things and had some other things to acknowledge within the way I spent my time. I have had an Xbox that I got primarily for two games: Forza and Madden. I love football and I love cars. After I looked through my calendar, I realized that I was not spending much time becoming who I wanted to become.
“If you won’t do something in the future, why are you doing it now?”
That is the thought I approach things with, a big thing that I realized. I thought to myself, things along the lines of, “Well if I want to be a husband in the future, why would I not work to become one now?” I thought, “Well if I want to be a business owner in the future, why would I not manage my finances well now?” I thought, “Well if I want to be in the best shape of my life, in my best health every day in the future, why would I not exercise right now?”
Actions are extremely important. So, with the acknowledgment of the things that I was doing, I began to identify the actions I needed to take to get where I wanted to go.
I knew I could change, I know I can change.
I knew I could grow, I know I can grow.
I knew I could improve, I know I can improve.
How can we change?
From the book Mindset by Carol Dweck,
“Fixed mindsets want to succeed and avoid failure, growth mindsets want to stretch themselves, work hard, show effort, and do more.”
What I believe many people overlook, is that this can be developed. A growth mindset is not something that is born but rather, is developed and built.
What I got out of her book is, “Success does not come to you, you go to success. Becoming is better than being, growth mindset allows people to enjoy what they do and love the process. Gifted people and talented people with a growth mindset are fed by the extreme love of learning and challenge.”
By doing certain things, we can create a growth mindset. An action that is focused around betterment and around improvement and around success should create a growth mindset if we allow it to.
“There is something about training your mind to be stronger than your feelings” — Charleá Fields
Action needs to be consistent, obviously. But, all action also needs to revolve around desire. As I said initially, we must desire to change. We must desire success. We must desire growth. As Carol wrote, people with growth mindsets want to stretch themselves, work hard, show effort, and do more.
Changing mindset takes constant action and a lot of it. We are always in motion.
The actions we partake in
Our mindset is also affected by our subconscious. We know what we think but we do not always know the effects of what we think. We do not always know the effects of what we do. We do not always know the effects of what we say. We do not always know the effects of those close to us.
Amy Cuddy presented an impactful Ted Talk a few years ago about the impact and importance of our body language. Her followup book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges went deeper and examined the relationship that your body language and your presence — which she explains as bringing your boldest self and being fully present.
We all have times when we wish we could have been more confident or more composed. Yet, what if feeling like that is a result of our actions?
If we “power pose” as she explains in her Ted Talk and throughout her book, our subconscious will receive that message. Our cortisol levels will drop and our testosterone levels will rise even just by doing a power pose for 5 minutes.
Think now, about the actions we partake in. If we read a book, do we slouch or do we sit straight and take up space, thus reading in a more powerful position.
What about texting? When we use our phones are we condensed and hunched over? Our subconscious will receive that message as though we are being defensive and need to protect ourselves.
What about the rest of our actions? How do we change our mindset simply through our actions, our positioning, and our results in specific actions?
By acknowledging what we are doing currently and recognizing the value or lack of value, and adjusting and growing and creating and building on a consistent basis.
This is one of the reasons I began reading books. I knew I wanted to learn more and be successful in business. I decided that a better action than Xbox would be reading books that filled me and taught me things and provided insight and pushed me and challenged me.
The information we attain
This also leads me into the second part of personal change, the information we attain.
What information was I attaining when I was playing Xbox? How did the information that I attained change when I started reading books? Which pushed me to grow in the direction I wanted to more? How did my mindset change as a result?
The information I attained, the information that I sought out changed, and as a result, so did my mindset.
To change my mindset and to change the way that I think, I needed to change the information that I attained. But, I didn’t read just any books when I decided to read more books. I wanted them to revolve around people I admired or could learn from.
In the same way, I want to talk about the people that we surround ourselves with.
The company we keep
What about the imaginary company that we keep. The nonphysical company? What music do we listen to? What movies do we watch? What books do we read? What type of social media accounts do we follow?
That is something also, that I feel many people overlook. I want positive energy. I want growth. I want positive change, every single day. I want to be better each and every day in each and every way.
So, I will go further into this next week. I will examine the type of social media, music, and movies or other entertainment that I consume.
But, we should be cognizant of the fact that even if we are not physically with someone, we could still be picking up their habits or their characteristics.
I included briefly in my piece from Tuesday, the way that I keep a list of the 5 closest people to me. I take it a step further.
I also rank the most important people in my life, I spend time thinking about the impact that others have on me.
Is their impact positive?
Is their impact negative?
Is their impact energizing?
Is their impact draining?
Is their impact guiding, coaching, directing?
Maybe it could be a combination. But, if we truly think about it, we should know.
“People cannot push you towards your purpose if they’re holding themselves back from theirs”
With that in mind, I keep a list, not because I care about certain people more than others. But, because I can spend a week around certain people and only an hour around others.
People change us. That’s fact. That’s common knowledge.
But, we control how we are changed by the people surrounding us because we control the people we surround ourselves with.
So. I rate people out of 100, just like Gary Vaynerchuk does. I love everyone. But, people are always changing. And, I want to surround myself with people who want to change like I do. I want to grow. I want to be surrounded by supportive, driven, responsible, honest, faithful, strong people, because that is what I value.
I know those traits are important. I know those traits contribute to growth and success.
I know what matters to me. I know how I want to change. But, if I’m not intentional, if you’re not intentional, we won’t be surrounded by people who want the same things.
“Just because your group is stagnant doesn’t mean you have to be. Find a new group”
People change. Some for the better and some for the worse. But, we should be quick to realize this and understand the reasons.
Some people will not realize they are changing in the way that they are. You MUST communicate with them.
I have a friend at the university who is now, as I am, as another close friend is, also a senior.
As freshmen, we spent time playing video games together. Now. I’m about to graduate, I rarely play video games, but, they still play them often.
They might not be changing, but I am. I’m growing and moving in the direction I want to go in. Maybe they don’t desire to move in the same direction. They may have a completely different mindset than I have.
And, I need to accept that. I need to question that, understand them, and act accordingly. If I surround myself with them frequently and for long periods of time, that is not supportive. They are not pushing me towards my goals when they’re holding themselves back from their own.
What we do, changes our mindset
The information we attain, changes our mindset
The people around us, change our mindset
I recently finished the book Becoming by Michelle Obama and she talked all about how she has become the woman she is and how she is becoming more of who she is. She shared the actions she partook in, the information she attained, and the people she, and eventually Barack, surrounded themselves with.
There is a song I love by Troy Ave, Who I’m Becoming. In that song, he preaches about doing the things that it takes to be successful, he talks about the information that he works to attain, and he emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with a good crowd.
Changing your mindset is important. It’s valuable beyond measure. It starts with us. Change starts with us. Growth starts with us.
God will empower or disempower, but, to be empowered, we NEED to change in a positive way and WANT to grow.
How have you changed today? Why are you better today than you were yesterday?