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Monday, November 9, 2015

Robert Persig

This is a lesson I learned many years ago when as a young man I set out to change the world.  I wanted to stop the war in Vietnam as well as end racism and poverty.  These were all lofty dreams, but ultimately unattainable.  I learned that to change anything, I must first change myself.  Change began at home and if I was lucky, I would be able to influence and impact a small part of the world around me.

Are you unhappy with your job? Begin by changing yourself — improve your skills, educate yourself. Are you unhappy with your marriage? Change yourself. No one is perfect. What are you doing that makes your spouse mad? Change it. Most married people set out to fix their spouse. You can't change your spouse. You must first change yourself. 

Are you dissatisfied with your creative work?  Do you need to improve your skills?  What can you do to become a better writer?  Artist?  Musician?  Do you need to increase the number of hours spend on producing creative work?  Do you need to overcome your fears and share your creative work with the world?

Another lesson I learned about change is that only you can change yourself. No one else can change you unless you are ready to change. Your parents cannot force you to change, though they will try.  Your boss cannot change you, though he may try.  Your spouse cannot change you, though she will try for years. Only you can change you. And you will only change when you are ready.  Other people can influence and inspire you, but only you can create the change that is needed within.

Once you master of the art of changing yourself, then maybe you can influence and inspire others to change.  Remember, though, that they will only change when they are ready. If you are unwilling to change yourself, forget about inspiring change in those around you.

What changes can you make in yourself today that will inspire and influence the people around you?  Are you ready to make the changes needed?  Are you willing to do the things it takes to make lasting change?  Only you can answer these questions.

A third lesson I've learned about change is that it requires commitment. People dream of changing their lives but usually they lack the deep commitment to do so. Change takes hard work and follow through. Nothing changes overnight.

Many in the American society expect instant change. Not happy with your body weight, take a pill or have surgery. Not happy with your wrinkles, have plastic surgery. Change takes commitment and patience. It is healthier to lose weight slowly rather than quickly.

Becoming a successful writer or artist doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of work and commitment.  Actors often are labeled an overnight success — a success which took ten or fifteen years. Harrison Ford, the actor, spent 15 years in Hollywood before he got the break in Star Wars that made him famous. Paulo Coehlo spent 15 years waiting for his best selling book, The Alchemist, to become a hit in the United States. Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime and died broke. Creative expression is a lifetime commitment. Don't give up.