What is change but death? When the caterpillar changes into the butterfly where does the caterpillar go? It disappears, it dies. Growth and change share a profound like with death. They are two sides of the same coin.
With my site HowToGoodLife.org I am giving you tools and concepts to change yourself for the better. I want you to grow yourself into a more complete human being. This sounds nice and most people are on board with this idea. Become more confident? Hell yeah! Find lasting peace and happiness? Gimme that! But most people don’t get what true growth entails.
If you are trying to change a part of yourself, you are literally trying to kill that part. When you are becoming more confident the shy part of you has to go. When you found peace the chaos inciting part of you has died. Obviously, this part doesn’t want to die, so it resists, it fights back. That’s why we feel so much internal friction during the changing process. Have you ever seen a snake shed off an old skin? This is a painful, messy process. Most self-help teachers and especially new-age people romanticize growth as a light and beautiful thing. That’s only half the truth. Yes, after growth has occurred it’s all nice and shiny, but during the process it is one hell of a struggle. To get to the bottom of this, I want to introduce the concept of “Homeostasis”.
Homeostasis is the internal force of any complex system that tries to keep up the status quo. Without this stabilizing force most systems would fall apart and cease to exist.
We humans are such systems. For starters, let’s look at our bodies. There is about a bazillion different cell in them. Every cell has a certain job and they’re all working together to somehow create this miracle of a walking, talking body. Problem is, this infinitely complex system what we numbly call the body, is very fragile. When your body temperature shifts five degrees off course, you’re dead. Same goes for your blood sugar and blood ph-value, a little change will knock you off your feet. Your body is working all the time to keep dozens of hormone concentrations and nutrition levels in the sweet spot where life is possible. A change to these parameters is met with great counter force, because it poses an extreme threat.
Exactly the same applies to our psyche. Since you were born you have developed dozens of habits and personality traits to sustain your life. Like your body, your minds first and foremost job is to keep you alive. But I have bad habits that don’t sustain my life but damage it! Don’t be so fast. Take typical addictions like overeating and smoking. You could say that’s an irrational and stupid waste of health and money, but that is not the whole truth. These addictions exist because they make you feel good during tough times. That’s how they sustain your life. You pay with health and money for them, but you get something in return. All habits you have are there for a reason.
To change one of these habits will be one hell of a struggle. Your mind and body don’t want to give up these parts. Mind and body follow the motto “never change a running system“. You logical thinking can see that giving up smoking is good for you, but the rest of you doesn’t get that. It wants to stick with status quo, to stick with the devil you know. Change always entails uncertainty and uncertainty means potential danger. Evolution has programmed us to avoid that. To change yourself you have to bite the bullet and fight your way through this programmed resistance.
I am not here to discourage you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Changing yourself is definitely possible and one of the greatest joys of life. I am here to set your expectations right. Wrong expectations can fuck you up badly, as I explained in The No. 1 Cause of Failure. You will need much more time and effort than you currently think you do. If you were hoping to find a quick fix to your problems, I am sorry to disappoint you. There is no quick fix in life. And everybody who says different is full of shit and probably just advertising his product. You will have to do the work. You will have to sit down, meditate, struggle with yourself, think for yourself, question for yourself. You will have to pay the emotional price.
That’s why I want you to be patient with yourself. Your on the right way, don’t beat yourself for failures and struggles. Give yourself rest stops. Becoming a better human being is not a sprint but the steady climbing of a mountain at your own pace.
That is the article for today. If you are serious about self-development you need to start meditating. Meditation is the most important self-development habit. Check out my comprehensive guide on meditation here: Meditation – One Habit To Change It All.
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Here are some more links to important articles.
- Emotions 101 – When Logic Flies Out The Window.
- You Have To Face The Challenges Of Life Alone.
- How Do You Live a Good Life?