Action Is Better Than Inaction
Many people have developed the habit of procrastination in their life. This habit is quite detrimental to success and change. If you want to achieve something great, you need to initiate action to achieve it. Initiating the act is sometimes more difficult than actually doing it. Yet once the initial timidity to act has been overcome, the succeeding actions become easy and spontaneous.
The satellite has to be catapulted to a certain level into space by a strong force. But when the needed orbital level has been reached, it will just hover over the earth with lesser effort than the initial force that put them into orbit. In the same way, getting out of the status quo is difficult and we need to exert more effort at first. Yet, once we’ve made the initial jerk out of the status quo, we find it easy to move further ahead.
The Need For Self-discipline
Substantial personal change can only happen when one changes from within. There is no other being in this world which you can control completely than your very own self. Yet many among us have not yet reached that level in which we have total control of ourselves. This is because many among us are alienated from ourselves. Some of us have developed a character disorder of transferring the responsibility to other people, events, and circumstances for some of our actions. We lament when we bawled at our son and we blamed our action to our hypertension. We say sometimes that we became alcoholics because of our emotional problems. Yet Scott Peck once said in his book that to solve a problem, you simply have to face it and solve it. If you are poor today, it is not because of your father who never dreamed of becoming rich. If you are late, you must never blame the traffic or the weather. We must never attribute to an outside factor the things that happen to our very own self.
Problems are solved by facing it squarely. If we don’t take responsibility for our problem, we can never really solve it. In the same way, we could never blame our parents for our habit of laziness or tardiness. We have to take responsibility for the development of our bad habits so that we could change them and turn them into good habits.
It requires a conscious effort on our part to change bad habits. Moreover, it requires effort on our part to develop good habits. Remember, nothing is achieved without sacrifice. We develop good habits if we are willing to really discipline ourselves. Say, for instance, if you want to be healthy, you need to exercise and eat healthy food. If you want to become a good basketball player, you need to practice.
Great athletes became great because of their daily sacrifices in training. Aside from mentally practicing their skills, they also hone their skills every day in the gym or on the playing court. In the same way, if you want to improve your personality, you got to watch yourself. Say, for instance, you got the habit of saying negative statements every time you feel frustrated: you can develop the opposite habit of optimism if you consciously try to say positive words every time you feel like saying something negative. Once optimism becomes a habit, it will be very difficult to break.
Divide Your Work into Parts So As Not To Be Overwhelmed By The Task
In the previous chapter, we have learned to write down our traits and talents. We were likewise advised to plan our actions and visualize them. Now that we are ready to plunge into action, we should then divide our goals into small achievable goals so that we will never be overwhelmed by the immensity of the task at hand.
Remember that the great pyramids were not built in a single stroke. Likewise, the Great Wall of China was not wrought in single construction frenzy. These landmarks were slowly built with calculated efforts after efforts. In the same way, if you want to attain something great, you need not force yourself to immediately achieve it. First, you have to lay the ground works, the scaffold, and the supports which would help you accomplish it. By dividing your task into small achievable tasks, your effort becomes lighter and your work becomes easier to accomplish.
Unfreezing Your Old Habits
When an action becomes a habit through repetitions, it becomes second nature to us. When it becomes second nature to us, it becomes easy to perform it. The combinations of all our habits constitute our personality. Thus, if we want to change something in us, we have to alter our habits. Our habits hold together our personality. Hence, when we try to break a habit, we experience relapses. One of my professors in college had the habit of chain smoking and alcoholism. I once told him to kick those habits off because they are detrimental to his health. He said that if he tries to break the habits, he might experience terrible relapses which may be deadly to him. So I told him that in both cases—whether he kicks the habits off or maintain those habits, he would surely die. Yet, the prospect of not dying early by kicking off the habits is better than dying early because of the bad habits. After several years of no communication, I’ve learned that he died of complications due to those habits.
Habits are powerful forces that hold together our being. Without them, we will never really have some consistencies in our life. To change a habit means to alter part of our personality. We can change a habit by unfreezing it. What I mean is that it is hard to break a habit but with perseverance, we can change it. When I say you unfreeze your habit, what I am saying is: “you begin to weaken a habit by consistently working on developing the opposite habit.
Habits are like old knowledge. They can be unfrozen by letting them thaw, allowing for the formation of new skill and knowledge. Let me give you an example: I usually scratch my nose every time I am embarrassed. I become aware of this habit when I was told by my friend about it. So, every time I feel shy, I begin to notice myself scratching my nose. Consequently, I took the effort of controlling my hands every time I feel shy. Eventually, I broke the habit.
Likewise, I got a friend who always shied away from responsibility. He would blame the weather whenever he was late. He would blame the government whenever he got short of money. He would even blame God for his misfortune in his relationships. I pointed out to him that he needed to take the blame for whatever misfortune he incurred in his life, otherwise, he will be forever at the mercy of the outside forces in his life. He got my message. He began to look at the root causes of his tardiness. He took the responsibility whenever he ran short of money and eventually, he began to save and never ran out of money. He also tried to look into his character and broke some of his habits of nasty talks and tactlessness. His relationships then began to flourish.
To change oneself, one needs to unfreeze old habits to make way for the formation of new ones. We can achieve this unfreezing by constantly being aware of ourselves, our actions, and our behavior.
Never Give Up When Problems And Hurdles Arise
Regular awareness of one’s behavior allows for behavior modification. Yet, along the way, you will be frustrated if you experience some relapses to the old habits. It is really frustrating to revert back to the old habit of alcoholism when you have already kicked the habits off several months ago. Yet, we must be wary of these relapse. For the force of the old habits are still there. Remember, those old habits have been part of our personality for quite a long time.
Thus, they still leave a gravitational pull like a black hole which we cannot see we but can feel. It takes consistency to overcome the pull of old habits. You must not give up when relapse seems imminent. Take a greater resolve to remain on the right track for change can only be had through consistent unremitting effort on our part.
Delaying Gratification For Future Satisfaction—A Sign Of Maturity
One of my favorite writers, Scott Peck once talked about one of the characteristics of a mature person. He talked about “delaying gratification for future satisfaction.” A mature person is capable of sacrificing the present satisfaction for a more gratifying future satisfaction. A corollary to the nurturing of new habits, the act of consistently monitoring one’s progress in the kicking off of bad habits and the developing of new good habits is like delaying gratification.
You may satisfy yourself if you get a stick of cigar when you feel that you are craving for it. But instead, you took in a juicy fruit gum. Your conscious effort entails sacrificing the present pleasure of puffing a real cigar. Yet, the payoffs— good health and longevity—are the far ahead in the future. Yet, these payoffs are more rewarding than that of present satisfaction.
Refreezing Of New Knowledge Or New Habit
Once we have been consistent in the practice of a good action, we tend to cement the action in our personality. Likewise, once we have been consistent in nurturing our subconscious mind with a new program, the new program takes a firm hold on the ground of the subconscious mind. It becomes part of our personality. Change has been effected in ourselves once a new mental program or a new skill has become a habit. Some habits are formed violently and abruptly, while the stronger habits are formed along an extenuated period of time. Yet, they are formed when we begin to freeze them within us and eventually they become substantial parts of our being. Hence, to cement an action into a long-lasting habit, you need to practice it consistently despite all discouragement and frustration along the way.
Rain or shine, you need to train yourself to concretize your habits as a vital part of your personality. Only through this constant practice will you achieve a substantial change in your being.
Take The Responsibility For Change
Our own development should not be left at the mercy of the outside forces. We must be responsible for our own personal growth. Change, as said in the earlier part of this book, is inevitable. Whether we like it or not, we will change for the better or for the worse. Either our environment will shape our personality or we will shape our personality. If we don’t take the cudgel in shaping our very own self, the world and the environment at large will take the step to change us. So we got to take the responsibility to gain perfect control of all the situations we are in. It is a pity if it is the outside situations and circumstances that are shaping our personality. It is like abandoning ourselves to the whims and fancies of the external world.
Yet, if we take the baton, and orchestrate the shaping and nurturing of good habits within us, sooner or later, we will discover that we have improved to a point worthy of commendation, and we will live a highly fulfilling life in the years to come. The challenge is always there for us to change for the better. If we fail to take the lead, we may soon find ourselves at a point-of-no-return, regretting our own existence, and like a Scrooge, living in isolation, fearful and stunted in growth. Yet, if we take the challenge, many doors will open to us.
New possibilities will be created, and self-realization and happiness will never be far beyond. In the end, we could proudly say to ourselves that we are the ones who had shaped and molded our very own characters and existence.
At the onset of this book, I have discussed the inevitability of change and that nothing in this world is impervious to change. Impermanence characterizes everything. Even our very own existence is subject to change—whether it is a slow change or a radical change—and thus, whether we like it or not, we can either embrace the reality of change or try to delay it. The world in which we live is constantly changing and if we let the world to change us, we will always be at the mercy of the outside forces. We got to take the reins and try to own the responsibility of changing ourselves.
By changing from within, we can radically change the outside world. Change from within is more substantial and
meaningful. Likewise, we can put ourselves in control of our destiny if we will take the initiative to change and improve ourselves from within. We are always faced with the dilemma of either changing ourselves or be shaped by the outside forces around us. The former is better than the latter. It is preferable to take the lead in developing ourselves and taking the responsibility for our growth and development. Additionally, there is no better place to start this radical change than to begin it with our mental programs. Our mental programs are like the software programs which make the computer function. Computer software programs work at the backdrop and they facilitate the functions of the computer. In the same way, our mental programs work at the backdrop of our actions. They condition and tinge our every endeavor. Hence, to improve and change from within, we got to change our negative mental programs and habits.
Once we succeed in changing the inner workings of our mind, we can then see some substantial changes in our behaviors. We can then actualize all our potentials. We can push the edges of our limitations, giving us more room for growth and development. If we change from within, we can finally become the ideal person we envision ourselves to be.
Now, that you have ventured through this self- improvement book to gain motivation in order to change. You are able to use the main five C’s to improve the way that you view life. Remember that confidence, competence, communications, cooperation, and creation are the five main steps in the process of completing your journey. I am hoping that you have received satisfaction in learning more about yourself through this eBook. As well as the knowledge you have gained about how change can positively affect one’s life.
Confidence is for being able to hold your head up high. Even when you feel down in the gutter and when you feel like remaining down. Get up and tell yourself “you can do it” because it is simply true. Competence is for your capability. You are capable of anything that you set out to accomplish as long as you have a level head and a realistic viewpoint. Use communication to your personal advantage.
Allow your close friends and family members to acknowledge your goals in changing. And they will be your support system. You can turn to a friend at the roughest of times, right when you feel like you cannot achieve the goal to change. You can proudly encourage your friends and family members to succeed in the change they pursue too. Cooperation is the way that you contribute to a group or to just another person. You show that you care by just listening. Everyone wants to know that what he or she is saying is being heard. Finally, creation is the step to actually do it. One action and one change coming right up!