Change Is Hell!

I’m a fan of Jim Rohn’s. Here are a couple of his quotes relative to change. “Disgust and resolve are two of the great emotions that lead to change” And. “It is our philosophical set of the sail that determines the course of our lives. To change our current direction, we have to change our philosophy not our circumstances.”

In a general way I have embraced change throughout my life but unfortunately some of those changes led to dire consequences. Dire hardly even covers it! More than a few of my worse changes came because of the influence of liquor. I can’t say that liquor was the exact cause but liquor has a way of altering how we think about our actions. Can you visualize ‘downward spiral’? So disgust is a pretty strong motivation for change but the disgust has to be harsh and deeply felt, coinciding with potentially disastrous end results.

The flip side of disgust is resolve. It’s the more positive spin to change but that’s as far as the positivity goes. Resolve can be a serious motivator when the failure to change leads to dire consequences down the road. This is why I think Change is Hell. When I was given the opportunity while in the Army to jump out of airplanes or do KP for three weeks I chose Airborne after initially choosing kitchen patrol. However, this logic left a jet contrail in my brain. Airborne has to be reasonably safe or no one would volunteer for it. I haven’t read anything discouraging people from going Airborne due to poor training, faulty chutes, or bad planes. Peeling potatoes sucks! I get paid more if I’m a jumper. Besides, I’m a tough guy, I can handle it. The decision to change in this situation was easy because the consequences were kind of shrouded in mystery. And let’s face it I just could not imagine dying at 23.

Quitting smoking (my wife and I completed 6 months today) was not that different; I could visualize the dire consequences of lung disease and I was beginning to feel the effects of cigarettes even though I was down to 2 a day. My wife’s stroke was the cold-water-in-the-face dose of reality that was the final nail in the coffin (so to speak) indicating that we had no choice in the matter.

Resolve is defined as ‘to come to a definite or earnest decision about’. Definite and earnest are two hard-core words that do not invite equivocation. Resolving to change is not easy unless you can visualize the epic downside if you keep doing the same behaviors. For me personally this is how I change. I won’t claim it’s the best way. Ideally it is better to see an outcome that you want to achieve and then take the steps necessary to change. I guess either way yields the same result. One involves a smack up side the head, the other involves an idyllic approach.


Drawing Assumptions Can Kill Ya!

How many times in the last 3 months did you think or begin a sentence with “well I assumed that…”. You know you have you used this phrase or one like it quite a few times. Like a lot of the drivel that comes out of our mouths assumptions can lead to a complete breakdown of communication. Assumptions can lead to profiling, stereotyping, hatred, and even death. Ask the parents of Trayvon Martin whether or not that’s true.

I think it’s about time that we wake up to the realities of 2013. Our country and our lives are undergoing sweeping changes that go far beyond the irrational hatred Jihadists have for America. We have a black man who is president and within the next 3 elections will probably have a woman elected as president. I’m pretty sure that will drive a lot of the remaining chauvinistic, old white guys stark raving mad. To whom I would say-your day has come and gone.

Caucasians will soon be in the minority. More and more gay couples will be raising children. The stream of immigrants will continue because America remains a land of opportunity. The color and gender of our politicians will continue to change hopefully bringing across the aisle common sense back to DC. This is reality without putting any spin on the facts. This is not the 1950’s when every day was pretty much like the previous one and identical to the one that followed. There is a generation of people who say that they would like those days back. That decade represented certainty, consistency, safety, and freedom from most activities that caused people to question who they were and what they believed in.

Let’s not wander too far from the gist of this post-assumptions can do you in. Assumptions are dangerous because they close off options, they narrow how we perceive life and people, they limit beliefs and personal growth. Let’s face it, George Zimmerman would have been better off staying home instead of prowling the neighborhood looking for trouble that wasn’t there. Or if he saw Trayvon he could have said, “hey man I love skittles. Can I have one?” A black guy in a hoodie does not represent a sure thing for trouble. Hey a white guy in a hoodie could mean trouble. Who the hell knows. Best not assume.

About the only thing you can assume is that change will occur. After the massacre in Colorado can you walk into a movie theater and not look around at people wondering if any of them are planning any mayhem? Shouldn’t we all be more alert to the fact that there are nutbags walking around who are mentally wrong? They are out there but that does not mean the person with over the top tats is one of them. I’m not a huge fan of environments that change often and harshly any better than the next person but change is a reality. For the sake of sanity and living a long life here’s a few suggestions.  Don’t assume; treat all people the way you want to be treated; prepare to react to any situation you are in because it could change immediately; enjoy the infusion of diversity; listen hard to other opinions.