When is it finally going to be the time you’re ready to change? I’ve gone through the same process you’re probably going through right now — the starts and stops, the inspiration and procrastination, the hope that fades.
I have great news for you. No matter how much you feel like you’re struggling right now, you can reach a point in your life where you just change. And there are signs. Now, these signs don’t guarantee you’ll change or cause you to change, but they’re the seeds.
Statistically speaking, a handful of you will be one of the few who do make permanent changes in your life and I hope you are that person.
Follow these breadcrumbs.
“You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire” – Seneca
When Kobe Bryant died, a shockwave went through the entire world. Kobe’s death affected people so much not just because of his greatness as an athlete and massive levels of popularity, but because it reminded us or our mortality.
When you see someone so prominent die in the prime of their life, it startles you, because people in the prime of their lives aren’t supposed to die. I can imagine in the following days and weeks many people started to live differently.
Maybe they finally started working on a new project, made sure to reach out to their family and friends, or just had a generally higher level of appreciation. But then, for most people, it fades. If you do start to become more aware of your own mortality and maintain that awareness, you start to live differently with more intention.
Maybe you’re more aware of it because you’re getting older, or because someone closed to you passed, or because you had a near-death experience yourself, or it just hit you. Either way, ride the momentum of this understanding and don’t let it go to waste.
This doesn’t mean that you have to live every moment of your life perfectly, but use mortality to remind you that you don’t have time to continue to put things off.
You can make wiser use of your time through accomplishments or through appreciation and contentment in the present moment. Most people fail to do either. So whether you choose the path of greatness or stillness, choose one and commit to it before it’s too late.
You Start to Notice This Subtle Change
“You got a dream, you gotta protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they’re gonna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.” – Will Smith
This will sound rude, but this sign is critical to your personal growth.
You’ll know you’re ready to change your life when your interests start to diverge from your peer group. You’re not trying to separate yourself. But you’re developing new interests and looking forward to a better future while the people around you are settling into a groove.
As I got more into self-improvement, I lost interest in partying. I didn’t make some big proclamation to stop partying or look down on people who partied, I just stopped wanting to do it as much.
In your case, you might have this feeling that the people around you aren’t interested in changing anything about their routine. And you like no longer enjoy the routine as much.
Happy hours and Sunday brunches are getting old. You feel a lot of complacent energy in your peer group. You look at the trajectory of your life and theirs, and you can see them going in different directions.
I’m not one to tell you to ditch your friends if they aren’t “crushing it!” You’ll just end up spending less time with them than usual so you can focus on building out a new life path of your own.
Sure, some people in your peer group might claim you’ve “changed” or feel some envy toward you, but, honestly, your friends do want to see you win. People like seeing you win but it makes them uncomfortable at the same time because you’re showing them what they could be.
Don’t judge your peers, inspire them. Show the people who they could be through your example. When you’re with them, don’t act holier than thou. Shoot the breeze like you always have and enjoy their company. Then, get back to work when you’re done. Simple.
You have to learn how to deal with people, period. Everyone has value. From like-minded peers who are into self-improvement, to your friends and family who live normal lives. Don’t be a pretentious jerk. Just understand how to live and communicate with people who have different goals than you.
The key here, work on your dreams quietly. Don’t brag or boast. Your peers will get that sense of your energy without you having to tell them. Some will eventually come around and want to run with you.
Lift others up. Never drag down.
“Following your genuine intellectual curiosity is a better foundation for a career than following whatever is making money right now.” – Naval Ravikamt
The school system causes many people to give up on education altogether and they’re done with their formal education. You just get burnt out after going through the academic wringer — study, pass test, study, pass test.
The people who separate themselves in the real world are the ones who dedicated themselves to continuous learning and self-directed education. The subject of self-directed education doesn’t matter, as long as you’re the one directing it.
If you find yourself learning things just for the sake of learning them, then you’re on the right track. Once you get that child-like curiosity back, you can use the knowledge you accumulate over time to build anything you want.
You don’t have to be pigeonholed into a single career, profession, or path anymore. The list of ‘careers’ grows exponentially every single day. In a world where people make millions playing video games or reviewing toys, you can create a life path tailored around the things that interest you.
When you have real curiosity and interest in a subject it’s harder to compete with you because it doesn’t feel like work to you. I genuinely nerd out at self-improvement, pop-psychology, philosophy, business, marketing, etc.
You can tell I’m having fun when I write when some other self-improvement writers seem like they’re writing those articles because they think they’re profitable.
Combine curiosity with skills and the money and status will come as a bi-product.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Tony Robbins
Weird question for you.
Do you think you deserve to feel good and be happy? There’s a growing cultural movement teaching you that if you feel bad, the problem is with the outside world and not with the way you’re living your life.
On the one hand, you can psychologically damage yourself if you’re always beating yourself up, always comparing yourself to others, and always focused on your flaws. The self-acceptance movement serves a purpose. But, sometimes, it goes too far.
Pain, anger, and frustration can show you it’s time to grow. Maybe you feel anxious because your life sucks. Maybe your anxiety and frustration are trying to lead you to the ultimate inflection point of change.
You’re just fed up.
You see the trajectory of your life if you keep doing the same thing and you know it’s not what you want.
Part of you feels this sense of guilt because you let yourself down when you’re the person you care about most in this world. Maybe you feel duped because you followed the societal narrative only to find there was no gold at the end of the rainbow.
Your next move matters most. What do you do with that negative energy? Negative energy is useful and powerful if you use is right. Some will say it’s not healthy to be driven by anger and frustration.
But what’s healthy about living a life of constant low-level anxiety and stress because you’re living your life on a proverbial hamster wheel? What’s healthy about spending the vast majority of your life doing things you don’t want to do?
If you’re pissed off about your life, good. You’re ready to begin.
“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up. Instead of what they have to gain.” Rick Godwin
On the flip side, you don’t have to be pissed off at all to make a change. You can draw from inspiration or simply make a decision to change because you want to move in a different direction. You don’t even need to judge one direction as better than another. You’re just ready for something new.
Maybe you’ve looked around at some of the people doing what you’ve dreamt of doing and you just come to the startling realization that they’re normal humans just like you.
Sometimes, inspirational content just brings you to that point where you’re ready to believe. This happened to me. One day I committed to a five year plan and carried it all the way through. I’d started and stopped many times before, but this time stuck.
Why? A combination of the items listed above. And, I just felt it.
If you’re at the point right now where you just feel it, it feels different, you can ride that feeling for a very long time if you convert it into action. I’ve talked about the process a billion times.
Catch that wave of motivation like a surfer. Create positive feedback loops. Each day you successfully accomplish a task toward your dreams it gets easier to do it the next day. Do this long enough, and it becomes exponentially easier and automatic.
Your results will grow exponentially too. You’ll look back and wonder how the hell you pulled all of this off. And you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
Yes, becoming ‘successful’ makes you an anomaly.
Maybe you’re an anomaly. Maybe you should just own it. There’s no downside to believing in yourself. None.