“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Lately I’ve been pondering the idea of change. Change can either be an exciting adventure or a dreaded fear to many of us. As humans, we delve deep into our comfort zones and making a change can be quite the challenge. We often have distinct emotions tied to the way we do things which makes changing them hard. For many of us there are good and bad changes in our lives. Whether it’s something as minute as waking up 20 minutes earlier each day, adding 30 minutes to your exercise routine, or something as significant as to change your eating habits, become vegan, quit smoking/drinking, get married, or to move all by yourself to a new city, change can shake you to your innermost core. It becomes arduous to step outside of your comfort zone and take those first baby steps into a new, unmarked territory.That’s human nature!
What does making a change actually mean? In the dictionary, change is defined as The act or instance of making or becoming different. Hmm..becoming different. Do you really want to be different? Many of us are guilty of associating different with being a negative thing. But is that really the case? I like to think not! I tend to think of being different as being unique, self aware, and comfortable in my own skin. I remember back to my middle school and high school days when being “popular” was the most important ideal in my life. I had to dress a certain way, say the right things, have the right friends, and become part of the “cookie cuter” human sector which meant I was basically like a puppet on strings being controlled by my peers and surroundings…I wasn’t even myself! As I grew older and wiser (or I’d like to think I am) I came to realize that none of that stuff mattered! I was going to be myself and if you didn’t like it then I guess that was your loss. I realized that if I got caught up in trying to be just like everyone else, well..then I’d be living a boring and meaningless life.
The changes I have made over the years have greatly impacted my life, and in a positive way at that! I have come to realize that my positive attitude has allowed the changes in my life to be more like small speed bumps rather than heaping mountains on this road of discovery. For example, becoming vegan was a big change…but my attitude about it has made it a walk in the park. I like to think of the foods I CAN eat rather than the ones I cannot, the health benefits my body will reap, the animals being saved, and how it is helping the environment. If I let my mind go down a negative path, then I would epically fail when trying to adhere to the change. Many people look at me like I’m crazy or an outcast when I say I’m vegan. It is not the social norm, therefore I am immediately marked as that negative connotation of the word different. But as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”If I allowed the scrutiny from others to affect me and believed the negative remarks people said to me about being vegan, then I would probably start to doubt my beliefs and fall back into being that puppet on strings again. I must continue to believe in myself and the changes I choose to embrace!
Doesn’t it seem mind-boggling that there was a time when cigarette smoking was the norm and doctors were actually promoting them? Smoking was viewed as cool and sexy, and was actually thought to have health benefits! Today, it is viewed as a gross addictive habit that can kill you! A social norm that was once thought to be good for you is now perceived as taking 14 years off of your life, the smokers are now the minority… what a radical change! Imagine how that change came about. If one by one, people had not stepped forward voicing the negative side to cigarettes and had not adhered to this change then we’d probably all be huffing away right this minute.
Therefore, you cannot be intimidated to be yourself, to be different, and to voice your opinions on what you are passionate about, whatever topic that may be. Do not be afraid to be the splash of red on the white wall! It is perfectly okay to be different and to CHANGE! Remember to always have a positive attitude and outlook on the change and its outcome, this will allow you to excel and to thrive. Embrace your change! Be mindful of the people around you and their differences!
Think of times in your life when you have experienced significant change or had to kick a bad habit. Was it easy? Were you dancing around your living room at the thought of it? Did your attitude (good or bad) impact the outcome?
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” -Steve Jobs