Change: It Starts With Each Breath


I recently read What To Say When You Talk To Your Self by Dr. Shad Helmstetter. The book is an interesting read overall, and one passage in particular stood out to me. The metaphor is beautiful and I agree 100% with the message.It's a passage about two types of change, and I want to share this with you today (text in italics is taken from the book, bold emphasis added by me):

Type 1: Change Created by External Influences

"The kind of change which happens to us is the result of of those minor attitude changes which come to us by way of expectations, minor events, company policies, personal relationships, relatives, family needs, parental authority, religious credos, per pressures, advertising of all kinds, economic trends, daily exposure to television, radio, magazines and newspapers, social requirements, political positions, whimsical notions, close friends, and off-hand comments. It is strange that these influences should shape most of our lives for us; and yet they do. They are not all bad or contrary of course—some of them are necessary and worthwhile. Some of these influences—a few of them—are the best kind we can ever hope to find. But taken as a group, these everyday influences in our lives are seldom the notes on which great symphonies are played. More often they are dives, plainly-written tunes, written in the key of average, with a slowly meandering discordant melody, leading to something less than the rising crescendo of great finales we had hoped for, never once demanding or creating the lasting and beautiful orchestration of a life well-lived.The conditioning of daily living somehow convinces us that mankind's greatest need, social survival, is also each person's greatest achievement! The result is that we slowly, unknowingly, change—not to achieve—but to survive, in a way that offers us the acceptance of the others. We get by. We do what we must. We do as well as we can, get along with others as well as possible, play our roles, do our jobs, put a little away for the future, and hope for the best. The dreams we dreamed as children, we learn no longer to believe.That is the tune we are taught to play. Instead of believing, knowing, that each of us is an entire orchestra, we are led to believe we are only the flute. We listen to the idle gossip of a friend, follow the lead of so-called leaders, fit our lives into a mould that was not of our making, tuck our dreams in our pockets, and hope for better things to come.And so we are changed by the lives we live, For most of us it is seldom the calamitous change of catastrophic events. It is the slow, sure change of environment—the change forced upon us by the world around us. What we become a part of becomes a part of us. What we perceive and what we accept is an important part of what we too will become."

Type 2: The Alternative Change Created by Personal Choice

"The one kind of change in our lives which is left up to the individual—to each of us—is the change which is created by personal choice.Have you ever thought about the fact that what you do, how you live, what you become, is almost entirely up to you? Of course there are outside circumstances to deal with, but how you deal with them is still, and finally, up to no one else but you. What you decide to do next will determine what you do next.Make the decision to do what you choose and you next step will be you own. Sit back and let the outside world take the lead and it will. Decide to determine your own next step—and thereby your future—and you can. Make the decision to make each breath you breathe your own. Stick by it, and each breath, step, motion, and achievement will be of your own making and of your own choice.""Make the decision to make each breath your own" (click to tweet). Beautiful.I know which kind of change I want to be making. Do you? Photo Credit: Nanagyei via Compfight cc