In a world where every day people are constantly bombarded with more information than their brain can handle, where levels of depression, anxiety, and loneliness are at rates never before reported, and every day brings more and more reports of new challenges what can you do to meet these challenges?
We live in a world where on one hand we see obstacles and challenges that seem overwhelming and requiring every last bit of patience, strength, and effort to overcome. On the other hand we see a world filled with people seemingly living their best lives in a perfectly currated social media profile. How is it that only we have mess in our lives and who do we talk to about it? When we look around the internet for information we find lots of gurus and experts shouting get rich schemes and miracle cures for everything.
Even if we could somehow figure out a plan for who to trust or where to start within all this information overload, how could someone as ordinary as you or me actually change anything in our lives or the world around us?
The answer is actually surprisingly easy in theory, but can be extremely difficult in practice.
Quick note that with most things in psychology and life in general, but most things exist on a spectrum or continuum. It depends on context and because of that it can be very easy to say “That doesn’t apply to me so I don’t need to pay attention” just as easily as it is to say “That’s exactly what I do, so this must be 100% correct.” Therefore, it’s important to understand and I will try my best to explain theories and spectrums to the best of my ability but feel free to ask questions or leave comments. Now back to our regularly scheduled article.
Regardless of what experts you follow, or what tools, systems, or tactics you learn about, unless you actually believe the change can occur you are unlikely to change. If you look at the world today it is easy to see all of the bad things happening. But the good things happening are also present. The more you look the easier it is to see other people creating change in this world. Seeing others success can hopefully motivate you in your own journey and show you that there are incredible things possible when the human spirit is aligned correctly. To help you further create that change here are 4 areas that can help increase your belief in your ability to create change in the world.
When we look at the world there are multiple lenses through which we can see the world. There is the idea that life happens to us or for us. There is another idea of visualizing or manifesting things into our lives. There are people who are asking “Why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people?” All of these lenses are showing us a vital aspect of belief, how much control do we have?
In psychology the term for this is Locus of Control which is the degree to which we as individuals influence what happens to us. Those who have a stronger belief that they are influencing their lives are said to have a more internal locus, while those who believe they lack control have more of an extrenal locus.
When we believe that we’re capable of influencing the world, what are we actually able to change? Refered to as the ABC Model for affect (feelings), behavior, cognition (thoughts), we are limited to the things we experience, we think, and how we interpret and feel about those things. While things can happen from others that impact us such as being fired from a job, being yelled at by our loved ones, or even physical harm, how we interpret those things and respond is within our control.
A second aspect of belief is choice. As we mentioned in the last section we can choose where we attribute control. One fascinating aspect of choice is that every choice is actually multiple choices. For everything you choose to do, you are also choosing not to do other things. That’s where it is easy to get caught up in distractions because basically it’s the thing we want to do against everything else in the world. By helping your decision making process by eliminating some of the choices it can be much easier to choose things that help you make change. For example, if you want to avoid eating or drinking food that you think is bad for you, putting those items further out of sight makes it easier to choose something else. Or if you make the choice at the store to not buy those things in the first place you can save yourself needing to continually not choose those items later.
The third area that can help with belief is consistency. When we are able to consistently create the results that we’re looking for over time it becomes easier to do. When we continually make the choices that move us towards the person that we want to be, that belief that it is possible becomes easier. If you want to workout for example, by having a consistent time in your day set aside to workout it becomes much easier to do. By showing up consistently you also start to see small changes occuring. Those small changes over time lead to massive changes. By consistently making choices today, we’re able to see the results that we believe we could achieve come closer and closer day by day. Then once you’ve made changes in one area it becomes easier to believe that you can also make changes in other areas.
The forth area of belief is grace. Sometimes life happens. We make all the right choices, we are doing it consistently, and then boom something unexpected happens that throws off our routine. How do we respond? How do we get back on track? The answer if you’re most people who set New Year’s resolutions is you don’t. But that doesn’t have to be you. Instead give yourself some grace and understand that sometimes things happen. We’re not perfect individuals and sometimes we just don’t have what we think we need to have to get something done and that’s okay. When we allow ourselves a little grace we know that sometimes setbacks happen, but it isn’t failure unless you refuse to continue. Sometimes failure is also a good thing, it can show us things we didn’t actually want to do or shows us that other things might be more important.
When we want to change something in this world the place to start is with ourselves. As we consistently choose to examine our thoughts, our feelings, and our behaviors our beliefs in what we are able to change strengthens. That belief when paired with tools, tactics, and systems begins to build an inner strength that creates massive change within your life. When you make changes in your life, suddenly others are inspired by your change and might begin to make changes in their own life. And soon your super strength has influenced the world. Are you ready to be the super hero the world needs? If so leave a comment on who, what, or where you’re planning to make a change.