The Weekly Dream: Changes and Adjustment
Lord, grant me serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
-Reinhold Niebuhr, Serenity Prayer
“My son , fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change.”
Lately, I cannot shake the feeling that I am trapped in the 1970s. Oil prices are high, we are fighting an asinine war, inflation pressure is building and the government is ineffectual. Although we are living in a time of rapid change, it seems more like things are staying the same. You may be up one minute, down the next, and if you live long enough, you will be up again. The cyclical nature of life is truly amazing.
Life is uncertain, and it makes promises to no one. It is a series of changes: these changes give rise to choices, these choices lead to adjustments. Sometimes we initiate the changes, sometimes we react to them. Change can be good, and it can be bad. That things change is the only constant. As creatures of routine and habit, change is not always welcomed with open arms. How can we cope with change? Perhaps a better question is whether a change is real or just its impact?
Where Do You Get Your Joy?
Anthony Robbins, the internationally renowned motivational speaker, states in his book, Awaken the Giant Within, that human beings, on a basic level are motivated to change by two things, pleasure and pain. They will take action to avoid pain and to increase their pleasure. At the root of this is desire.
Desire is important as an impetus to change. If you want something bad enough, you will give and do anything for it. Some schools of thought believe that desire is an obstacle to self-realization and a peaceful life. However, I believe that insatiable desire for the wrong things and for the wrong reasons presents the real obstacle. To constantly strive to be a better husband/wife/brother/person is not a bad thing. However, to desire vain pursuits that do not profit or are fleeting is a problem.
Desiring the wrong things is akin to eating fast food everyday, although you will be hungry an hour later. It is pointless. People pursue material goods, public approval, power, etc. although it is fleeting. They run from high to high, and all the while taking themselves through a bunch of unnecessary changes. Instead of pursuing the giver, they pursue the gifts. Instead of being content with the good, all they can focus on is the bad. The discontentment experienced leads to distraction. It causes one to focus on the problem rather than the solutions.
We are all guilty of this. We all have pursued something or wanted something that we knew was not meant for us or good for us. No wonder some many people are unhappy and discontent. They are living on a basic, emotional level and as such, are tossed with the wind. These individuals forget that there is a world of difference between wanting something and being ready for it (that is another article in itself).
Where do you get your joy? Where do you get your pleasure and validation? Joy and contentment exist independent of external factors and circumstances. No matter what occurs outside, you can see the good and appreciate life in whatever form it presents itself. I will give you an example. There have been times when I did not have a dime to my name, but I did not panic. It did not affect my outlook. There have been times, although rare, where I have been flushed with cash. And it still did not matter. This is because I knew that my financial situation, though it could be better, did not make me a better man nor was it real. Like everything in life, it comes and it goes. Therefore, it would be foolish to predicate my self-worth or mental state on something that is constantly in flux.
The same goes with people. I believe that being addicted to a person or to money is more dangerous than any drug. And a good number of people are trapped by what people think. People are constantly changing and in flux. One minute they love you the next minute they act like they do not know you. My Dad calls these people, “flakes.” As long as you make them feel good or do something for them, you are their best friend. But how many people really know you? How many people would love you if you could offer them nothing? How many of them UNDERSTAND and SUPPORT your dreams, goals and aspirations? It is extremely dangerous to base your life on this shaky foundation. Take heed: the life you lead may not be your own.
Scared Money Don’t Make Money
If you can build a solid foundation within and manage your internal changes, then the external changes are nothing. Actions that seem risky to others become nothing to you because of the character and fortitude you have cultivated within. But how do we get to this point?
I believe that first, you have to know what is real. Understand that change is often the top layer and the truth is more often underneath. We might change, but who we really are at the core does not. So take time to find that person and cultivate him/her. Also, stay grounded and face your fears head on.
Know that failure and success are simply moments in time and do not say anything about you as a person. However, how you interpret and react to failure and success speaks volumes about your character.
Pay attention. Be aware of the time, internally and externally. Know the seasons of life and various environments, so that you are positioned to benefit. Think about it: Some people make more money when the stock market is down than when it is up. This is because they react quickly to position themselves to exploit any occurrence.
Seek to possess a deep and active contentment, even in the midst of struggling. Change is a process of becoming. You acknowledge where you have come from, but you know you the best is yet to come. Sometimes, your best is not good enough, and some things you have to accept. And contentment will save you a world of regret.
Lastly, endure to the end. Good and bad things happen to everyone, but by keeping your head when everyone around is losing theirs proves your steadfastness and dependability. People respect those who can be depended on. And that devotion makes all the difference.
Know the seasons. Know who you are dealing with. Know thyself.
Be fluid as water, but hard as rock. That is the only way to deal with change.
Don’t be a flake.
Truth and Peace
Steven M. DeVougas
Question of the Week: What do you desire and why?