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Change


To change is “to become different and it can come into our world from two directions. It can be imposed upon us by external forces or motivated from within through the powers of choice or repentance. If the company for which we work is going out of business, our employment is going to Change. If our house burns down, then where we live is going to Change. If a drunk driver plows into our car in a horrific accident, then our life could very well face a dramatic Change. Our favorite stores go out of business or relocate. The weather changes. The time of day changes between night and day, dark and light.

This list is probably close to endless, but these are just a few examples of some changes that could be imposed upon us by external forces. Sometimes those changes occur in an instant and we are forced to adapt very quickly to the new situation or environment. But more often than not, those changes are forecast and we have the opportunity to prepare for their arrival. We can face those forecast changes head on and prepare for the alternate future they will bring whenever we know those changes are coming.




~ Change - from External Forces

“Change can be a good thing, provided you don’t let it happen TO you”

When reading this quote you have to emphasize the capitalized “TO” to understand the real meaning. Otherwise, it will sound like you should simply try to avoid any kind of change. In reality, the quote wants you to take change head on and prepare for its arrival rather than allow it to simply overtake you.

One of my roles in my work in the world of Health and Fitness was as an Independent Contractor Personal Trainer. I did most of my client training with a local World Gym facility. As an Independent Contractor we were not employed by the gym. When ownership was changing over to Bally’s Fitness we all learned that they intended to do away with our Independent Contractor status and wanted to convert us all to employees at an hourly rate that would equal about half of what we were all making as Independent Contractors. Most of the trainers spent all of their time complaining about the coming change, but did nothing to prepare for its impending arrival. A few of us on the other hand looked at our situation and simply made other arrangements. One opened his own studio, a couple of others moved to another facility, and I began training some of my clients in their homes while I pursued my real estate license and began a move to a new career. The others were left floundering when the change came and ended up with some real career issues.

The moral of the story is that when you see change coming, don’t just sit around and wait for it to overtake you. Take action and make plans for the alternate future that coming change will bring. It doesn’t matter if it means a career change or simply rescheduling your Sunday afternoon barbecue to a day when it’s not going to rain.

So, change can be a good thing, just don’t sit around while it overtakes and consumes you. Take a proactive approach when you see it coming and you’ll never Fear change again.


Boiling a Frog in a Pot of Water

Hamster on a Wheel

Of course, there are also those times when change is such a slow process that it creeps up on you. We call this “Boiling a frog in a pot of water”. This term is analogous to life in that we often find ourselves in situations and wonder just how we got there. What trail of circumstances or decisions led us to where we ended up? The minuscule changes are so small and subtle that we often don’t recognize them as important or at all critical until all of a sudden we realize we’re in a whole new situation and don’t recall what got us to this new place.

The analogy of “Boiling a frog in a pot of water” says that you can’t just toss the frog into a pot of boiling water - he’ll simply jump right out. But if you put him into a pot of cool water and slowly turn up the heat, he will not realize the injustice being done to him and before long … he’s cooked!

Well, sometimes we don’t realize or recognize the course of events or decisions that take us in a direction or into a place we might never have intended to be and wonder how we got there. Sometimes the heat just gets turned up and before we know what’s happening we’re there … and it’s hot!

Boiling your own frog in a pot of water and ending up in a place you never expected to be could have been the result of a series of small choices or decisions you made or maybe a series of external forces that slowly guided your journey. Maybe there have been times in your life when you kept bending just a little bit because each individual occurrence seemed like only a minor and insignificant compromise only to ultimately land you in a place you never intended to be.

One of my most memorable Boiling Frog experiences came just a couple of years out of college. It started out with me sharing my first post-college apartment with a good friend and ended up with another guest/roommate ultimately having his fiancé’s whole family come live with us for about three weeks while they planned and had their shotgun wedding due to her “surprise” pregnancy. After which, he then asked me for about $3,000 to help him with their new expenses including his bride’s dental work. In between taking that first lease with my friend and then becoming a Hostel Lodging Facility for the Three Ring Circus Wedding and money request was a long list of very minor compromises that got us from point A to point Z. Along the way I could never have imagined where we’d end up, but each small step along the path was just another fork on my journey down The River of Life and was really just the slow increase of the water temperature that eventually “Boiled My Frog”.


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~ Change - from Within

“A woman marries a man hoping he’ll change … and he doesn’t!

... and a man marries a woman hoping she won’t change …and she does!”

Are people really still out there trying to change others to better suit their world? If you really love someone and just have to have them in your world, why not try adapting yourself to better suit their world? Otherwise, just accept people for who they are and as they are or move on - it’s that simple!!

Years after we broke up I had the opportunity to talk with a past girlfriend who was engaged to be married and I asked her about her beau and their relationship. She told me that, “He is a great guy and there are just a couple more things I have to change about him and then he’ll be perfect.” Wow! I almost dropped the phone! I couldn’t believe she actually said what I just heard. I mean we’ve all heard the quote above - what makes it funny though, is that we should all know by now that you can’t make other people change or even expect them to. And you certainly can't make them change to better suit your world. Change, if it is to be made, must come from within and has to be the choice of the person making the change in their own desire and efforts to grow.


To “Repent” is:

1.   To feel remorse, contrition or self-reproach;

2.   To feel such regret for previous behavior as to change one’s mind about it;

3.   To make a change for the better because of remorse or contrition for past conduct or sins.

So can a Leopard change its spots? Can a Zebra change its stripes? Can people “repent” and make a lasting change in their lives? Or, do we simply throw those metaphorical comparisons out there for a reason? The truth is that people can repent and they can change, but the reality is also that any change must come from within and be driven by their own internal motivation to grow. I mentioned on the About This Site page that “life seldom revolves in an instant - it evolves over time” and any changes someone tries to make usually take years to become ingrained and habitual. Maybe that’s the reason why so many people don’t change. They’re looking for the quick fix and when things don’t get better in an instant they give up failing to embrace the perseverance it takes to establish and instill new habits.


“Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced”

                        ~ James Baldwin

Do you know anyone who has treated their spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend poorly for years and when finally faced with the threat of them leaving make all the changes required to give that person what was missing in their relationship? Sadly, one of two things usually happens at that point: Either the person who had been mistreated for so long embraces the changes and things are great for a short time, only to fail again when “The Leopard’s” spots show up or “The Zebra’s” stripes begin to show again because the changes were not initiated in a desire for their own growth, but to please and appease their partner. Or, the changes are not initially embraced by the partner because they are looking for a lasting pattern of new habits so the one making the changes fails to pursue the course required for lasting change and “The Leopard’s” spots and “The Zebra’s” stripes begin to show again.


I had a friend who endured an unhealthy marriage for years always hoping things would one day change for the better. After years of extremely selfish behavior from her husband she threatened to leave him at which time his behavior changed in an instant. He became more attentive and more helpful around the house. In short, a far better partner and loving husband. She was excited, but after so many years of dysfunctional behavior she needed to see a lasting pattern before she could embrace his change as enduring. He lasted about three weeks before he blew up at her for not embracing the changes he had made. What he failed to recognize and understand was that when you cut someone once they heal pretty quickly, but when you cut them time after time after time, again and again, it’s more difficult to stem the bleeding and recover from the cumulative effects of all those wounds. She had been cut so many times for so many years that his three-week Band-Aid of improved behavior was not remedy enough to heal her wounds. Clearly his change was not motivated by his desire to be a better partner and husband, but only out of his Fear of having to face his family and friends with the shame of a failed marriage.


Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and there the few times that things actually do work out when one person attempts to bring forth a change in another.

That however, can only occur when the one making the change realizes their need to grow and their desire for change, although motivated from outside them, once stimulated actually does take root and then continues to flourish from within.


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A Few Great Quotes To Help Guide Your Journey


Click on any quote to open it up a little bigger


A Soft Heart


A True Relationship


Be With Someone


Be Your Priority


Any Guy Can Spoil You


Changed Just Like That


Cheat Yourself Out of Loyalty


Damage No Longer Controls You


Defined By Your Past


Don't Feel Sad


People Don't Know Good


Feelings For Granted


Feels Appreciated


Friends for Life


I Don't Want a Perfect Person


I Forgive People


I'm Here For You


In Order To Love Who You Are


It's a Beautiful Thing


The Right One Will Lead You To Peace


Leave Your Past in The Past


Life is Too Short


Light a Lamp


Living Well and Longer


Make an Effort


Make Them Laugh


Never Forget Who


Never Give Up


Never Regret Anything


No Matter How Old You Get


Nothing Again


One Day You're Gonna Miss Me


One of The Best Feelings


If You Push Me Away


Respect People Who Find Time


Self-Discipline


Silence is The Best Answer


Strong Enough To Live It


The Best Things


The Most Beautiful Things


The Seven Wonders of The World


Treat People


Wait Until You're Ready


What The Heart Already Knows


When Your Past Calls