“I never change, I simply become more myself.”
Joyce Carol Oates
“We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.”
“fire doesn’t change –
it doesn’t become less of a flame
just because it loves the air.”
I probably get asked “don’t you think people can change?” more often than any other question.
I will suggest that the whole discussion of ‘can people change’ could take an entire lifetime.
So, for today, let’s answer it with “yes, no & maybe.”
I imagine it depends on who the person is and what they want to change and how badly they do, or don’t want to do, the change … as well as if they demand the change of themselves or if the change is being demanded of them.
That last sentence pretty much is a reflection of why the answer to ‘can people change’ is yes, no & maybe.
But I have a different thought on whether people can really change.
I imagine this means you simply become more of who & what you already are.
The corollary to that thought is without this evolution you simply remain a lesser version of who you could be
<note: which I assume mot people would prefer not being>.
Conceptually I imagine I am suggesting you are what you are. In addition … you don’t really know what you are … you have to find it.
That darn “find it” thing.
I think maybe I will call it ‘self adventure.’
Maybe our Life is just one big adventure called “finding the best version of myself.’
And, yeah, I do believe there is a ‘best version’ within everyone. Some of us simply fail on our adventure to actually arrive at that version. In addition … I do believe we all go on this adventure whether we choose to do so with purpose or not.
I also tend to believe two basic things about ourselves:
– We begin not completely molded <therefore part of your adventure is finding who and what you really are>.
– We accumulate good & bad aspects along the way <and it really isn’t changing but shedding the bad and accumulating the good … hopefully that mix …>.
This adventure can be harrowing.
It can be fun.
So I imagine this also means that, yes, people can change … but it also suggests if you are seeking purposeful change, rather than encountering organic change, more often than not you will find yourself going against the grain of your adventure.
And maybe that is why change is so difficult or maybe that is why most people really don’t have an interest in making any significant change <or at least put the effort necessary to create that change>. Purposeful change is most likely not our natural change.
“What else should our lives be but a continual series of beginnings, of painful settings out into the unknown, pushing off from the edges of consciousness into the mystery of what we have not yet become.”
And, yet, time and time <and time> again we seem to head out on some purposeful change quest. We do so with the best of intentions for this quest is simply a reflection of the most basic overriding theme of Life … how do people fulfill their potential and figure out who they are and what they’re capable of?
But somehow in our misguided quests we find our‘potential’ is more often focused on painfully or strenuously attacking externally doing things to improve … to be something we envision we want to be <better>.
I would like to note that this type of quest also goes against the grain of how I consult businesses, therefore, I could suggest it is a little ass backwards. In business I 99% of the time suggest an inside out business model. Don’t figure out who you want to be first but rather figure out who you are first <and maximize that>.
The good self adventures follow that inside out strategy … and then maybe it’s not that we get smarter intellectually that is most important but rather we get smarter about ourselves <know more about who & what we are>. It is a tougher adventure because it is less “if I do this will be this” but rather I am setting out on an adventure knowing this about me.
One adventure has a clear destination you are aiming for and one adventure has a clear home you are walking out the front door from.
“Desires, memories, fears, passions form labyrinths in which we lose and find and then lose ourselves again.”
One path is much less easy to get lost on and one is much easier to get lost.
But I could argue one adventure could permit you to reach a destination that may not be as valuable as you thought originally while the other adventure insures whatever destination, and path as well, you wander into will be a reflection of something you value.
I will admit … I am clearly in the ‘inside out’ self adventure camp.
It certainly has its challenges but it also permits me … well … adventure.
I have less milestone and objective based Life successes <improvements> … my self improvements are, frankly, more organic.
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.
The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy.
But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
All that said … here is what I do now about can a person change. Once you are in a routine, once you are comfortable with what you are doing, it is incredibly easy to confuse that situational, environmental comfort as “understanding who & what I am.”
We should never confuse comfort in circumstances with being comfortable with who & what you are.
They are two separate things which can often be confused.
How can I feel confident saying this?
Change your comfortable circumstances … and then see how comfortable you are with who and what you are. Stagnancy blinds us to many many things. movement uncovers that which has been cloaked.
Even if you don’t buy what I am selling today.
Even if you think what I am saying is bullshit <or fraught with stupidity>.
Before you decide you need to ‘change yourself’ just think about what I believe may be one of the smartest things Montaigne ever wrote:
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
Michel de Montaigne