The essay is primarily addressed to all those people who are not doing the things they want to do and are postponing taking decisions.
If you are one of those people who is unsatisfied with your current condition and still have no clue on what to do, you should read this. If you are working in a field where your talent and skill is wasted, you should read this. If you are living with a person you despise, you should read this. If you are spending time doing demeaning work as per you ability, you should read this. If you want to quit smoking, you should read this. If you believe you can spend a better life, you should read this. If you have faith in yourself, but are afraid to take decisions, you should read this. If something is stopping you from doing the right thing, you should read this.
To begin with, let’s define Change.
What is change?
Change, which I am talking about, is making a change within you. It’s doing something new which is out of your comfort zone for the first time. It’s about doing something which you know would be good for you over long term but may be painful in short term. Change is about doing something which you always wanted to do. Change which I am NOT talking about is the external change over which one has no control over. That said I believe there will be few instances in a human’s life where he won’t have a control over the changes happening around him.
Change has two steps:
1) Deciding/Determining what to change
2) Taking steps to implement the change
Deciding/Determining what to change:
There could be tens, if not hundreds, of things you may want to change in your life. You may want to change your job; you may want to change your lifestyle, environment, habits, behavior or outlook. The very first thing about change is identifying the core area of change. It’s about identifying the issue that needs addressing. If you have identified it, you are almost half was through. Now you just need to work over step two.
If you have not yet found it, keep searching. Keep thinking. If you are unable to find the cause, it would perhaps be because of your own inability. The inability to identify this causes frustration. The inability to realize that something ought to be changed is the cause of frustration among many people. You may be doing well in everything. You might be earning well, having a great family life, but within yourself you might be frustrated. Unable to identify the cause of frustration leads to more frustration. It causes clashes within your mind. How to sort these out? Well, you need to find out what needs to be changed and the only way to find that out is through introspection. Give yourself some time. Relax and sit down for a while. Sit for a day, for weeks, months to find out that one thing that is frustrating you. Introspect. Note down all the things that you are not happy about in a piece of paper. After noting everything down, arrange them in the decreasing order of their disturbing nature; most disturbing thing first followed by less disturbing. Now look at the first thing. Analyze it. Ask a question to yourself. Can you change anything about it? Is there anything you can possibly do to make it less disturbing? Well, there is always at least one thing that you can change about everything: your attitude towards it.
Finally I want to talk about another category of people: those who ignore the frustration. I feel there is one thing that is even worse than the inability to find the cause of frustration. It is ignoring it. You may have already realized what is the cause of clutter in your mind, still you are not giving due importance to it. By doing so, you are not fooling anybody but yourself. This is not the best way to live life; ignoring what you know about life, not doing perhaps the best thing in this world to make your own life better. The betterment of your life is but in your own hands. Better not ignore the facts life presents you with. Accept them. Acknowledge the things that disturb you in the first place. Life is as simple as you make it. Some facts and situations are in front of you. It’s up to you to interpret and comprehend them. You can take out conclusions as per your understanding of things. So rather than ignoring the cause of frustration, why not face it and try to change something about it.
I have a small story to tell you here about one of my friends. My friend, Riya, is a beautiful girl but very sensitive emotionally. Because of her sensitivity she used to be very frustrated with her boyfriend. She was frustrated because he used to hurt her, blame and scold her for petty issues; issues like talking to other boys, not replying to his messages in time. She used to call me every night, crying and sobbing because of her boyfriend. Both of them loved each other a lot but even then there were issues coming up between them. What I was able to realize was that the two of them were simply addicted to each other. They had become habituated to each other. They could not spend a night without talking with each other over phone, for hours. Yet, they were always fighting. Their long hours of chats over phone often ended with her tears. Still, she could not let go of him. She had to talk to her every night. I told her a number of times that the guy is not worth the pain. I tried to help her understand the facts, but she was unable to identify the main cause of her frustration. I felt she was simply ignoring the cause of frustration. It was not her boyfriend, it were her habits and perhaps her own attitude. She had become so used-to him that she could not spend time without thinking about him. She had to change her habits, her attitude towards him, which she did not. I told her a number of times that she needs to break-up with him, which she did not do for the two years. It’s only recently, after three years of suffering that she is out of the hell. She finally left him, only after leaving the city for further studies. Had she not left the city, she would probably still be suffering because of her attitude.
I have a lot of friends who, I believe, can do a lot better than they already are. I don’t know if they know this. They are very talented but are unaware of their talent or are simply afraid to take decisions. Here I am talking about those people who are working in a particular field say IT, and earning great salary but are unsatisfied with their jobs. They are not enjoying their work. Some of them are aware that they can do better. Still they are afraid of the consequences of taking a wrong decision, which may or may not turn out to be wrong. By wrong decision I mean quitting their jobs to start their own ventures or go for further studies etc. They just can’t decide and hence are continuing with their unsatisfactory positions. To these kinds of people my father would say: “If you don’t get into the water then how will you learn to swim?” Just as you need to get into the water to learn swimming, so you need to change certain things to know your ability. You need to get out of your comfort zone to do something that you have never done. If you don’t come out of your comfort zone, you’ll never be able to do the things you’ve not done before. You need to let go of the things less important to you to follow that ultimate dream of yours. You have but one life.
So, after going through Step 1 of Change, you may not already be pondering over that one thing that needs to be changed. If that is the case then you are on the right track. You should think, ponder over facts. You should think while reading. If you have been able to think of few such things that makes you sad or are to be changed you can move to next step.
Taking steps to implement change:
The next thing about change is taking the required step forward. The first step may be making up your mind to make the change. Yes, once you have identified the problem, it’s important to decide it within yourself that you’ll fight for it.
The first step is always the hardest to take. It’s hard to let go of your comfortable life to start something new. You don’t want to take the risk with your life, your career and hence you are always afraid to let go of the comfort you are enjoying. You are full of fear of failure. You may be so full of fear of failure that you ignore it. You don’t feel it necessary to acknowledge the fear of failure. For others, it may be simple carelessness about making certain changes. They may be too busy with doing something more important than resolving their own life issues. May be they are busy watching T.V, drinking beers or doing the regular office work. People try to suppress their frustration with booze or work which further accentuates the problem.
About change, I have one philosophy: If you don’t try something, how can you judge if it’s right (good) or not. If you don’t take a decision, then how will you know if it was right or wrong? If you don’t explore the options, then how will you select the best one?
It’s better to take the things at the face values. Interpret the things as they are and not twist and turn the facts to make some irrelevant conclusions and completely misinterpret the things. Make the required change to make your life more beautiful and exciting.
The most comfortable and safe time in a person’s life to make hard decisions is during their early twenties. During this period, usually people are not burdened under great responsibilities and can afford to do mistakes. So, rather than being timid, you should be bold to take the required step. Take that plunge to discover yourself. Try new stuff. Do what you like. Discover! Explore! Don’t be afraid to fail. You don’t have anything to lose. Be confident. You can always start again. But this time will never return. You may end up regretting not doing certain thing in your life. Now is the time. Just do it.