We all change, that’s inevitable. And we all want to change for the better, that is, we all want to change in healthy, rather than unhealthy, ways. But sometimes wanting to change isn’t enough. Sometimes it requires a decision. Wanting is easy. Deciding is scary. Wanting is just a thought, a cartoon in the brain. Deciding is making that thought a possibility, and the cartoon a reality. So quit wanting to change, and just decide to change. The question is: will that decision be courage-based or fear-based, liberating or imprisoning, healthy or unhealthy. Here are four tactics to help push us toward making better decisions, as opposed to simply wanting and making excuses, about how we’re going to change.
Cure yourself of Decidophobia
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. The moment one definitely commits oneself, providence moves too.” –W.H. Murray
Princeton University philosopher Walter Kaufmann wrote a book titled Without Guilt and Justice where he coined the term decidophobia: a lazy disposition where one would rather leave the deciding of what is Truth to some outside authority. Sadly, decidophobiacs (the majority of people) would rather someone else decide the course of their lives for them. Once they’ve relinquished control of their lives to this authority (the state, the church, the military, a university, a certain political party) they will tend to accept as truth anything argued by that authority, no matter how ridiculous, outdated, parochial, or stupid it is.
Their reasons are generally fear-based, usually out of the fear of being wrong, or of being an outcast. The first step toward wanting to change your life to deciding to change your life, is to break the spell of decidophobia. Indecision is torment. Deciding is liberation. Indecision is cowardice. Deciding is courage. Providence in action is something to behold, but in order for it to be beholden, you have to make the first move.
Like Hellen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our face toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefinable.”
Recondition the Precondition
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein
For the most part, we all grew up in a fear-based culture. As such, we tend to live fear-based lives. We tend to fear being alone, and we often feel helpless and at the mercy of the system, whatever that system might be. But, as Shrii Shrii Anandamurti explained, “You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars guides you too.” As such, the power is in us to recondition whatever preconditioning occurred when we were growing up.
So if our preconditioning was unhealthy, it behooves us to recondition it in healthy ways, so as to become healthier people. Transforming fear-based living into courage-based living is exactly such a healthy reconditioning of an unhealthy condition.
Our preconditioning is the worldview we’ve been conditioned with. It, inadvertently, becomes our subconscious drive. Our subconscious is the blueprint of our life. We are, for the most part, completely unaware of it. Our conscious mind is only a minuscule aspect of the subconscious that we are aware of, and is almost completely controlled by the subconscious belief structure. The trick to reconditioning the precondition is to become more consciously aware of our subconscious knee-jerk reaction to things, and then to own up to them, in order to discover new and healthier ways of reacting.
With enough practice (meditation, self-affirmation, cathartic art) we can eventually recondition our fear-based perspectives into courage-based ones. First step: forgive yourself. Second step: love yourself, fiercely and unapologetically. A state of blissful gratitude arises and fear dissolves when you surrender to self-love.
Like Tom Robbins said, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” Come from a place of abundance, not scarcity. Find a way or find an excuse, the choice is yours. Unless you wish to remain a decidophobiac living a fear-based lifestyle, I suggest finding a way to recondition the precondition.
Make an art form out of Nonconformity
“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person. ” ― R. Buckminster Fuller
Like Jen Sincero wrote in ‘You are a Badass’, “There’s nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fu*k-yeah.” Be that freight train. You do not have to experience the world in the way you were told you had to. This is your life, it’s your responsibility how you live it: bad ass rebel or conformist puppet, progressively sustainable or stagnantly unsustainable?
Don’t tiptoe through life hoping to make it safely to your death. That’s just silly. Grab the world by the balls. See what makes it tick. Then when you’ve figured it out, make it tick, or tick it off. Break rules if you have to. They’re made to be broken so that better rules can be realized. Like Pablo Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Just make sure that you’re responsible for the consequences. Nothing is set in stone, not even stone itself. Break open that stone. The stone is a metaphor for anything that feigns permanence. Shatter it into a million little pieces. Nothing stays the same. Everything changes, including you. Roll with the changes, but do it your way. Nonconformity doesn’t mean out of control, it means out of “their” control. This is your world. Just remember: we all have to live in it.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss
There has never been another you in the history of history. Appreciate how special you are. Like Kurt Cobain said, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is unfair and a waste of energy. Instead, compare yourself to previous versions of yourself, and realize that there are things you can control and things you cannot.
Let go of what you cannot control and improve upon what you can. The key to individuation is realizing that codependency and independence are the two extremes of interdependency, which is the natural state of the cosmos.
Independence is healthier than codependency, but interdependency is healthier still, because interdependency is the self-realization that all things are connected and that we, each and every one of us, are a devastatingly unique aspect of all things.
Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” The more we understand this, the more we become self-actualized. And the more we become self-actualized, the more capable we are of deciding how we’re going to change for the better. And the more we change for the better, the healthier our world, as a whole, becomes.