Change has been on my mind lately, as some of you may notice from a few of my recent articles. One of the books I indulged in today is The Daily Stoic; it serendipitously so happened that today's topic was about change (how fitting).
Deceived and Divided — The Daily Stoic
“Circumstances are what deceive us — you must be discerning in them. We embrace evil before good. We desire the opposite of what we once desired. Our prayers are at war with our prayers, our plans with our plans.” — Seneca, Moral Letters, 45.6
“A woman says she wants to meet a nice guy and get married — yet she spends all her time around jerks. A man says that he wishes he could find a great job, but he hasn’t actually bothered to do the looking. Business executives try to pursue two different strategies at the same time — straddling it’s called — and they are shocked when they succeed at neither.
All of these people, just as is often true for us too, are deceived and divided. One hand is working against the other. As Martin Luther King Jr. once put it, “There is something of a civil war going on within all our lives, a war inside each individual between the good parts of their soul and the bad.”
The Stoics say that war is usually a result of our conflicting desires, our screwed-up judgments, or biased thoughts. We don’t stop and ask: OK, what do I really want? What am I actually after here? If we did, we’d notice the contradictory and inconsistent wishes that we have. And then we’d stop working against ourselves.”
Excerpt from “The Daily Stoic” p 105
If you desire change in your life, what actions are you taking to bring about that change? If you desire change in your life but aren’t taking action to create this change in your life, do you genuinely desire the change?
Let’s get uncomfortably comfortable with each other today and ask ourselves some questions — some of the questions will apply to you, and other questions won’t apply:
Person 1: I want to get out of debt.
Truth: If you have not made any changes to your financial habits and continue spending more than you earn, you desire to stay in debt.
Question to Ask Yourself: Do I want to stay in debt for the remainder of my life?
Person 2: I desire a new and better job.
Truth: If you haven’t applied to any jobs or completed any networking with people and organizations you would be interested in working with, you do not want a new job.
Question to Ask Yourself: Do I want to stay at a mediocre job(s) for the long-haul?
Person 3: I’m unhappy in my relationship.
Truth: If you haven’t made any changes to improve yourself and communicated with your partner about your feelings honestly, you want to stay in an unhappy relationship.
Questions to Ask Yourself: Am I comfortable residing in a dead relationship for the remainder of my life? Is my happiness not important to me?
Person 4: I want to earn more money.
Truth: If you have not consistently executed steps that will lead you to earn more money, you do not want to earn more money.
Question to Ask Yourself: Am I satisfied with making barely enough money each year?
Person 5: I want to lose weight and feel and be healthier.
Truth: If you are not actively: losing weight, making progress, eating healthier, and staying active, you do not want to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
Questions to Ask Yourself: Do I want to live the rest of my life overweight and unhealthy, or do I want to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle?
The final questions we all need to ask ourselves today include:
In what areas of my life am I choosing to cope or accept mediocrity instead of actively making a change?
Do I want to survive or thrive?
Do I want to live in mediocrity for the rest of my life?
If you aren’t actively and consistently making changes, then the answer to question #3 is: Yes. The answer to question #2 is: Survive.
One thing we got to stop doing is lying to ourselves about what we desire.