January 11, 2017
Law One: Things Change
From the whirring atoms that make up our physical world to the synaptic structures of our brain activity—everything is moving. Even stone changes over time. The Grand Canyon wasn’t always there, neither was Ayers Rock.
If we are living our lives pretending that things don’t change, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. It’s like trying to paddle a canoe with a tennis racket. Sure, it might look like we are doing something, but it won’t get us anywhere.
So, the question becomes this: Things change, so what now?
We can start by accepting this fact. When we acknowledge that everything—absolutely everything—is in constant motion and changing, then we can do something constructive with our time and energy.
Recognizing that the world we live in is always in flux matters because there are different types of change going on. There is a difference between, say, evolution and decay. One moves toward a greater wholeness and adaptability, while the other does the opposite. In a way, evolution happens with an individual or idea, while decay seems to happen to something.
Or, take for example, the fact that there are big changes—ones with consequences, good or bad—and then there minute changes, those which go basically unnoticed. Shaving your head vs. losing a single hair.
That being said, when it comes down to it, in our own lives, there are really only two types of changes in the world that matter. We have intentional change, which is guided by our goals, thoughts, and conscious actions; and then we have all the rest…the stuff that others do, the stuff that nature does, and the stuff that is done by the cosmos.
For the latter, there isn’t really a whole lot that we can control about it. However, we are not puppets that life pushes around. And, we do have a say when it comes to the type of change that is intentional.
So, if denying that things change is not the answer, what is?
The solution, here, is acceptance; accepting that things change and that it is a Law of Life. When we truly wrap our head around this idea, we no longer have to fixate on outcomes and/or live in fear of life happening to us. Instead, we can focus on the journey and know that we, ourselves, can happen to life.
We can say, “Things change no matter what. Okay. So, how is it that I want them to change? And what is an action that I can take to move my life in that direction?”
Basically, how can we embrace this Law of Life and use it to our advantage?
A quick exercise is this: First, set one goal. Say, for example, we want to start waking up earlier. Next, make two columns. The first column is for “Things We Can Control” and the second column is for “Things We Cannot Control”. Try it. Here we see that there are many, many actions that we can take, which are in our control: setting five alarms, going to bed earlier, not drinking coffee after 5 pm, doing some meditation, and avoiding blue light in the hours before sleep. These are all actions that we can implement because we have control over them. In the other column…well, in a lot of cases, it turns out that there is not much to say. That is, in this example, nearly all of the variables are within our control. That doesn’t mean that this, or any, change is easy. But it does mean that it is possible. And, when that is the case, it becomes absolutely clear that we do indeed have agency in at least some of the change occurring around us.
Acknowledging that change is a Law of Life means that we can move with this quality of our reality instead of pushing against it. It allows us to set some goals and direct our energy toward shifts that we desire.
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.
Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com
His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.