Playing the game of change

The hardest thing for anyone who wants to change their reactions or their life (a consequence of their reactions) is to let go of established habits of thought and behaviour.

You learn to think as you think, to speak as you speak and to react as you react, and after years of constant and daily exercise, habits guide you unconsciously without you realising. But, unfortunately, by always doing things the same way, you cannot change your results.

I have personally found that making changes becomes easier when you understand that for most of your conscious time you are subject to the programming of your subconscious. Then you may choose to play in a different way.

The first 'rule' is to forget everything that is outside of you; your real opponent is the personality you have developed. The outside world is just the theatre in which the story is played out. The others are just actors in your play who make your challenges full of twists and turns. So when something unpleasant, unexpected or different from imagined comes your way, it is an opportunity for you to learn. If you react as you always did, you waste this opportunity. But, if you get curious and start asking yourself some questions and, consequently, you choose different reactions from usual, you are beginning to open new paths of possibility. You still don't know how the story will end but you are in the flow of change.

Part of you will certainly be uncomfortable; your personality suddenly cannot cling to its familiar and established habit, but if you choose to be determined and strong-willed and, especially if you do not take yourself too seriously and accept the opportunity, you will realise you are able to learn something new that is perhaps better than what you have done so far.

As children, we are naturally oriented to try, explore and learn. But this is until we experience humiliation and shame. These two emotions have the power to limit our world and make us reluctant to reveal ourselves again. Humiliation and shame underlie our fear of revealing ourselves, and then maybe making mistakes or failing. Then we begin to build mental rules about protection that become our little certainties. We anchor ourselves to these like lifeboats, even when the tsunami of shame disappeared over the horizon years ago.

Mentally returning to a dimension of play and challenge brings you back to curiosity and flexibility, back to that ‘before’ where certain emotions did not yet exist and your space of exploration was huge.

In that place, a second 'rule' is important: trust that your personal unexplored potential is much, much larger than you currently believe. This is a truth that applies to everyone. We are like castles full of rooms that have been closed one after the other until we found ourselves living in an apartment. If you put your nose out the door, you can see the closed doors, and if you creep into some of these rooms and open the windows, you’ll find wonders that have remained sleeping in the dust until today.

Change is possible, indeed changing should be your daily aspiration in a life that flows and presents you with constant evolutionary opportunities. So, why not bring your attention back to yourself and challenge your habits, proving to yourself that you have finally understood the rules of the game and are ready to go beyond all the limits you thought you had?

(Pic credits Ross Findon for Unsplash)

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