by Hélène Montpetit
Back in August 2015, I realized my life was about to take an unavoidable turn for which I was not prepared. Since I wanted to make sure I had a say in shaping my own future, I began looking into choice and change.
I wanted to know how much influence my personal decisions could have on outcomes. I asked friends I felt had done well how they had experienced and navigated their own life transitions. I searched for other resources and found several exhortations to “follow your heart/passion/dreams”. It seemed a little pat and easy, but I thought that since Steve Jobs, one of the most happily successful people of our times, was one of those exhorting, I probably ought to give it a try.
Two main conclusions for now
My adventure of discovery is by no means at an end, but since I have been making efforts to change and dabbling in other people’s research for six months now, I thought I would share here what I have learned to date.
First, nothing in the process is cut and dried. Creating a satisfying life is an intricate dance that involves circumstances, choices, attitudes and stamina, to name a few. Some attain it through serendipity, others through careful planning, but those who never give a thought to what they really want rarely make it.
Second, being alive now entails considering the impact our choices have and we must pay attention to more than our personal well-being. How critical is it to have a global perspective at this juncture? The video below has been widely circulated and is a little off topic, but I thought I would include it here because it makes a pretty convincing argument for not supporting business as usual.
The backlash of opening up to reality
The kind of message Mr. Sanders shares tends to breed a keen urge to deny, ignore or give up. Transcending this negative frame of mind is difficult for most of us and people who are active in global movements often talk about the change of paradigm required to actually start doing something about the problems we face.
Allowing ourselves to become aware of our personal contribution to the problem requires courage. Finding ways to behave differently and actually changing our daily behaviours takes perseverance and dedication. I can tell you, though, that as I meet more and more change-makers, their individual choices strike me as being crucial.
My mother often said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Once we accept the fact that we can be agents of change, how do we make sure we sustain the relevant efforts to implement it? I would like to share a few resources that I find useful or enlightening. They are, in no particular order:
- An article by Lisa Lahey on vox.com: I’ve spent my career studying bad habits. Here’s what I learned about changing them—a very practical look at how we can stop unconsciously sabotaging ourselves.
- Find Your Power, by Dr Chris Johnstone—the title says it all.
- Mark Manson’s Quartz, one of the best sources of down-to-earth, plainly delivered common sense—guaranteed to provide a reality check.
Thank you for reading! I would love to hear about resources that have helped you with changes in your life, so please feel free to share in the comments section below.