I just read the first chapter of Change Your Paradigm, Change Your Life, by Bob Proctor and Sandy Gallagher. This book was recommended to me by my father-in-law, and him and I agreed to meet to discuss what we had learned from each chapter. In the first chapter, it talks about how we grow and change through changing our habits. Well really the whole book talks about this, but it’s introduced in the first chapter. One habit being when we finish a book, we move on to the next. But have we really learned what we just read? Probably not. We need repetition to change our thoughts, and create change within ourselves.
What’s funny is that he and I had discussed reviewing the book’s chapters before I even read it. Almost like he knew that in order for us to learn this book, we had to repeat what we had just read in order to convert it to memory. To change our paradigm, if you will. Fascinating, really.
So I was thinking to myself today about all the self-help books I’ve read, or personal development courses I’ve looked into, and I had one over powering thought about it all. Mind you this was before I started reading this book. And this thought may be a controversial one at that, but one that I truly believe in. We can read all of these books until we get blue in the face, but they won’t make us change. None of it really matters without our will to put ourselves first. No one has the power to change us but us. Now sure, reading these books and learning the lessons do help, to some degree. I think they point us in a direction. But only we have the power to change ourselves, and until we realize this, nothing else matters.
Over the past year, I have had the pleasure to talk with some really great people about mindfulness. And in these talks I have shared my story. Some of you may be familiar with it, and some maybe not. But I had this idea in my mind that by changing my external world, this would somehow magically change my internal world. If I changed jobs, that somehow this would make me happier. Well I learned this couldn’t be further from the truth. And It all clicked when I became aware that when I was happier with myself, it allowed me to change my perception of what was around me. That by changing my internal environment, I now had the power to change my external one too.
What it all boils down to is this. Our environments are a reflection of us. When we are unhappy, our environments are unhappy too. I was reading all these self help books, thinking this was the answer, but nothing was changing. It’s because at the time I wasn’t willing to change myself. Once I started being more mindful, loving myself, and creating space between myself and my thoughts, that it all clicked. This is not to say you should stop reading these books. But I do warn you that nothing will change by reading these books until you have the will to change yourself.
This is the key to life, really. We all want to be happy. At least I think we all do. Humans crave connection. To love and be loved. Acknowledging in our own mind that we deserve to be loved as much as the next. And once we do this, we have the power to do anything.