The Secret of Change

Chapter III – Communications (Let Others Know You Want To Change)

The Environment Is A Factor In Your Successful Change

The birds can’t fly without the air. Likewise, the ships can’t float without the waters underneath them. In the same way, even before we become conscious of the world around us, we were already born to a world not-of-our-own making. In Philosophy, we call this “facticities” of the world. We are born into a family not-of our- own choosing. We grew in the neighborhood not-of-our-own wanting. Yet, we got to stay in that facticity until we are capable of fending for ourselves on our own and until we sever our umbilical cords, and find a job to make us financially independent.

So to make us succeed, we got to survey the environment in which we live. We got to embrace reality as it is and work to change and grow in that given reality. The agriculturist before planting a crop would survey the land where he intends to plant. He would try to find out the characteristics of the soil, the source of irrigation, the kind of plants which will grow in that soil. In the same way, if we want to change something in ourselves, we need to figure out the factors in the environment which may hinder us from attaining the goals we intend to achieve. The environment is a major source of change in us. It can either shape us into a good person or a bad person. Likewise, it can debar us from some forms of values as in a case of a boy who becomes a thief because he was born in a slum area where most people steal from each other. Indeed, environment plays a vital role in the shaping of our character. Moreover, in extreme cases, one must get out of his or her present environment to effect change in one’s life.

Make Sure Your Significant Others Know That You Want To Change

The environment in which we live does not only include the physical world in which we find ourselves. It also includes the people who are involved in that environment. It also includes the significant others in our life. Say, for instance, you need to kick off the habit of smoking because it is already becoming hazardous to your health. You need to make sure that your intention is known to the people around you, especially to the significant others in your life.

You need to inform your wife for example of your desire to kick the bad habit. You also need to inform other people in the house of your intention because they will play a significant role in the success of your intention. Moreover, in the office, you got to inform those people whom you are always in contact with. Their encouragement and cooperation can greatly enhance your effort to kick off the habit.

Likewise, if you want to develop a particular skill in a certain area of your work, you need to tell your boss or your immediate superior of your desire to improve your competence on that certain area. In this way, they will align their programs according to your preference and if they are conscientious enough, they will help you improve in that area by pulling strings together to make your goal possible. Sometimes, it needs only a good communication to let other people understand our intentions and allow them to help us.

Heightening Your Awareness Of The People Around You

Many changes happen because we are so keenly aware of the people around us. In any human relationship, there is always that sense of reciprocity. Like in marriage, we discover more of ourselves by being in communication with our
significant others. We discover our peculiar characteristics through the observation of other people around us. It is a sad thing if a person becomes callous enough and reactive to the observations of other people. Problems start when we become selfish enough not to listen to the observation and feedback of other people.

Language is one of the greatest inventions of humanity, and through verbal communication, we discover the characters of other people. Aside from our own observation of ourselves, we need the feedback of other people who truly care for us and we can know their feedback through good communication. If we want to really manifest substantial changes in our life, we need the help and inspiration of our significant others. Thus, if you want to change career, for example, you need to communicate your plan to your significant others so that she or he can help you figure out if your decision would be good enough for your family. This loving reciprocity between you and the people around you can greatly help you in your desire to change your life.

Surround Yourself With Optimistic People

If we need to change something in our life, we have a choice: we can either associate more with people who can help us achieve the desired change, or we can spend our time with people who veer us away from the needed change. It is a good thing to choose the people you would associate with because other people can influence us. Choose people who can inspire you to reach your goals.

Don’t associate with people who would pull you down. Associate with people who can push you forward whenever you feel discouraged in your effort to change. It is said that there is no unmotivated person. But there is such a thing as people who are unmotivated in the company of certain people. Remember, you are subconsciously and unwittingly influenced by the people with whom you associate. The more time you spend with pessimistic people, the greater the chance of you ending up being pessimistic.

All persons exude a certain aura or energy. This aura has some relative effect on those they associate with. So if you intend to strengthen your resolve to achieve something, I would rather advise you to associate with optimistic people whose positive auras can push you into positive actions.

Optimistic People Can Challenge Us To Greater Achievements

Many people are inspired by challenges. In the same way, optimistic people can inspire us to face greater challenges. Association with optimistic people allows us to adapt their behavior to optimism. Despite the difficulties involved in change, we can become successful if we are encouraged by people around us. Moreover, we can sacrifice a lot if we are challenged and encouraged at the same time.

Thus we need to carefully choose the people we associate with. Jesus is one of the greatest optimists of the world. He did not call his disciples to a life of ease. Instead, he called them to a life of changes and challenges. For this reason, his disciples—even though most of them were not educated—were able to bring his message to the furthest bounds of the earth.

Optimistic people are inspired by needs and struggles. They do not cringe before a great challenge but see it as an opportunity for growth. They would tell you exactly what life is difficult but they would also tell you that this difficulty is the greatest beauty of life. As gold is tested by fire, so also man is tested and honed by the struggles of life according to them. Their behavior can rub off on our behavior if we often associate with them.

We grow in difficult times and not during the times of pleasure and ease. Yet, our society has inculcated in our mind that the sense of pleasure and ease is the most desirable of all circumstances of modern life. Many kids are exposed to the life of instant pleasure. If you want coffee, there is the coffee “vendor” machine. If we want entertainment, we just turn on the TV set. If we want water, we just need to turn on the faucet. We become soft beings. Yet, we need to pass through the crucible to push ourselves to our full potential, and passing through the crucible is difficult. Hence, we need the help and encouragement of people who are optimistic enough to goad us into positive actions.

Climb On The Bandwagon Of Optimistic People

You can never really know what is happening inside a person unless he or she communicates his or her ideas to you. If most of his or her words entail negative ideas, you may be sure that the person is leaning on the negative side of the spectrum of life. On the other hand, if his or her words warm your spirit and encourage you to plod on further towards the change you want to manifest in your life, then you can be sure that that person is living on the optimistic side of the spectrum of life. “By their words, you will know them,” as the scriptures say. You can have a glimpse of their mental programs by listening to their choice of words and phrases.

There are people who can help you in your undertakings and it would be good to find them so that your journey towards change and progress will be facilitated and encouraged. These people look at the brighter side of life. They encourage growth and progress in other people. They communicate well their feedback and they are not hesitant to gain your ire just to point out the flaws in your character. The advice of these people should be readily sought after for they are like wisdom and can lead you towards a better way of living. When you find this person, treasure their pieces of advice to you for they can direct you to a better path. Likewise, you should join the bandwagon of these people because their energy is contagious and can spill over you like a fresh gush of water giving you a new vitality in the struggle of life.

I had a problem before in my work because I usually had a headache at the end of a day’s work. When I got home, my headache became acute that my abrasiveness with my wife and children became a daily scenario at home. So, I asked the advice of one of my trusted friends about what should I do with my problem because it was already affecting my kids and my relationship with my wife. He said to me;“You should learn to delay gratification.” I was taken aback because I never thought that I had this problem of doing first the works which are pleasurable to me and letting the non-pleasurable works wait until I am about to go home. So the result was: I became irritable at the end of the day. So, I followed his advice. I tried to do first the most difficult and non-pleasurable aspects of my office works, and then at the end of the day, I would indulge myself with the pleasurable aspects of my work. It really worked and the pleasure I got from the pleasurable aspects of my work rubbed off on me until I got home. The effect was, my headache was gone at the end of the day and I got some quality times with my family.

Good people are capable of encouraging us into good actions. Likewise, the advice of a good person can definitely lead us to a better understanding of our situation and can help us achieve a substantial change in our life. Moreover, the behavior of optimistic people can rub off on us, affecting us in a positive way. If you come in contact with optimistic people, you should not hesitate to join their bandwagon and achieve the necessary change that you would like to realize in your life.

Discovering Our Own Neurosis And Character Disorders

We may not be aware of the fact that most people have their own peculiar neurosis and character disorders of which they are not aware. Neurosis, in the viewpoint of Scott Peck, one of my favorite authors, is our tendency to take so much responsibility for anybody. On the other hand, character disorder is our tendency to avoid responsibility for our actions. Both of these deficiencies hamper our growth and progress in life. Stephen Covey said that “we should work on our circle of influence.” The circle of influence includes all the things on which we have total control. These include our body, our mind, our emotions, our family maybe, and our work. If we apply the ideas of Scott Peck and Covey on our very existence, we can readily figure out our own neurosis and character disorders. Additionally, some people can communicate to us our own neurosis and character disorders. We need to seek the advice of these people if we want some significant changes in our life.

Scott Peck also said that “to solve a problem, we need to face it squarely.” A problem will not go away if we do not take the responsibility to solve it. Say, for instance, if we are always tardy at work, we cannot attribute our tardiness to the heavy traffic on our way to the office. Likewise, we can never say to our boss that we are late because we got insomniac. We got to discover the source of a problem and take responsibility for solving the problem. In the same way, if we got an alcohol problem, we can never attribute the problem to our wife who always nags us at night. Nor can we attribute that problem to our depression. We got to take control of ourselves by taking the responsibility for our alcoholism. We may need help from other people in case we want to change and some people can advise us on what to do as long as we communicate our desire to change. Likewise, some good people can point out to us the areas for improvement and the ways by which we can improve in those areas as long as we are willing to take the responsibility for our problem.

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