Change. Is there a word in the English language that hasn’t been so often repeated, used and incorporated into politics, advertising, and myriad self-help guides over the course of the last decade? Yet “change” isn’t just a buzz word or a political promise. It’s an important concept to understand and apply both in the business world and on a personal level in a world where the keyword “crisis” has apparently run amok.
Never before have the opportunities for self improvement and self reflection presented themselves with such great potential to change habits and behaviour at the individual level and on a grand scale. The question is, do you want to change? To shift your behaviour towards improving self management in times of crisis, frustration and procrastination?
Writing on the subject, Dinis Guarda in the article How to change your will how to change yourself, describes this as a “process to replace one’s name; to move one’s opinion; to change the course of history,” in other words, to use the challenges we face to “move forward and create a new paradigm.” In order to be successful at changing one’s behaviour to reflect both long term ambitions as well as master “present short term settings,” one must develop willpower and take action.
Guarda notes that “the history of the world first starts with your own biography.” Begin with self reflection and think about your will. Humanity has been around for an estimated 200,000 years. Let’s face it: we aren’t going anywhere in the long term. But in the short term, we all know that we will die at some point, leaving the rest of humanity to persist and thrive in our permanent absence. Pop culture memes and influences add to the rather prevalent notion that doomsday or the apocalypse is just around the corner. But what fatalistic thinking that is!Book of your life. Source Flickr/Remy Saglier – Doubleray
Rather than focus on the negative, think about the positive. As the renown Thought Leader, Steve Jobs, put it during his Stanford Commencement Speech, “Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Guarda recommends writing a will as an excellent and practical exercise because it makes one put into question one’s achievements and apply a new way of looking at life planning. Approach the exercise as if someone were writing your biography. A story about you would include all your passions, all the things you have achieved and will achieve. For those who already have a will, consider adding amendments or a “codicil,” that reflects the new habits and principles. Creating a strong will can also ensure security of mind, as it is a record of you and the culmination of your life planning and decision making. It’s your way of knowing that you will have a lasting impact on the events of the future, for friends and family who may benefit from your assets or from your estate, and for other individuals and causes you wish to see flourish far into the future.
Social upheaval and various crises and challenges have always been a part of the human condition. The first step, says Guarda, is to not obsess over present crises and problems, no matter how overwhelming they appear, “The evolution of technology, software, the Internet, electronic peer-to-peer referrals are new opportunities and have became an important phenomenon and created new ways and opened so much doors to self improvement and reflection. Also new business opportunities and economic chances. The issue is that more than ever in history it all comes to personal initiative and will power. It is not easy and these new shift in paradigms obliges each of us to get better and be continuously changing.”
Guarda notes that the present times of “crisis, stagnation, no economic growth,” is as good a time as any to reflect on how humans can effectively change their habits, start new adventures and move towards a new paradigm. If a solution to a problem is out of your personal reach, network with your peers to discover opportunities and connections to begin effecting change. We all have a short time to make an impact, so find the willpower to maximize self management opportunities, engage in Thought Leadership, and follow your heart. Starting effective change with small steps by improving routines, relationships, personal networks, and processes can lead to big results. As Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, once wrote, “the history of the world is but the biography of great men.”
Heather Turner is a writer based in London who has worked in the fields of print and broadcast journalism, PR and film. Turner moved to London in 2009 from the rural Ozark Mountain region of Missouri to pursue a B.A. in Mass Communications and to gain more hands-on experience in film and marketing. She currently writes about trends in digital media and maintains a blog in her spare time on subjects including politics and media criticism.