I’ve done a lot of changing in my life, and I’m not talking about clothes. Or jobs, or homes, or girls, or anything that is external. I’m talking about internal change. I’m talking about personality. I’m talking about ego. If I look back on my life and consider what I am then I would have to admit that I am that. I am change.
My change came from dissatisfaction and frustration with how I behaved and reacted to the world around me. The change was incremental. Tiny steps every day, and only if I was actively working on it. Change is hard. It is so challenging that the majority of people do not attempt it. Even if they do attempt it most people falter at the first hurdle. They then revert to the safe and cozy mantra of declaring that they didn’t fail – “that’s just who I am, bro.”
A young man that I know called me last night. He is attempting to change. He has spent the first ten years of his adult life in suspended animation. This is not uncommon among young people. It’s not uncommon with people in general. He began his attempt to change about a month ago and yesterday he hit his first really big block. He told me that he couldn’t find any motivation. He just wanted to be happy and feel good.
Feeling good and being happy. If ever there was a blot on our society from new-age bullshit and media lies then surely it is this, particularly the idea that you can be happy all of the time. Drug addicts are happy all of the time until the cumulative dose needed to stay happy ends up killing them. Our natural state is not to be happy, whatever that means.
Understand this – every great moment in human history, whether it was an invention or a discovery or an exploration or a creation, every great moment was born from a struggle. The term struggle is not synonymous with happiness. Struggle is hard work. Happiness is laziness. Happiness is at best a temporary illusion. If your goal in life is to be happy then understand that you have no tangible goal.
The young man asked me for some sort of of sign that would show him that he was on the right path. I told him that if he was feeling miserable or depressed or frustrated then that was the sign that he was on the right path. Because your ego hates change. To your ego, change is death. Literally death. Because change represents the unknown, and your ego would rather have you stay with what it knows even if those behavior patterns are extremely detrimental to your well being. From the 19th trait of the modern man – the modern man is not I:
An attempt to change your personality is an immediate threat to your self-ego. Your ego is the defense mechanism you have built up over the course of your life to protect you from injurious thoughts and comments from others. It is formed over your first few years and it solidifies into adulthood. It is who you are, or so you believe. But it is not.
It is merely a tool that has outlived its usefulness. But by the time you realize that it might be an idea to change it the tool has become the master. It will protect itself to the death. More than that, it will have projected itself to the egos of your family and friends. They are all symbiotic in nature. A threat to one becomes a threat to all.
Read the entire link. It is the most important trait from my list.
Your ego is devious. It will use nebulous methods to get you to stop trying to change. It will wear you down bit by bit. Like when you begin going to the gym – you start off full of enthusiasm and you stick rigidly to your program. But then your enthusiasm begins to wane. You skip one workout here and one workout there, and all with a perfectly reasonable excuse at the time. And then six months later you discover that you haven’t stepped foot in the gym for eight weeks.
“Oh that’s just me, bro. That’s just who I am.”
This is the same process that your ego uses to defeat you when you are attempting to change yourself. Why was I able to succeed? Because I have reasonable willpower but mostly because I was so desperate. My own circumstances were so intolerable for me that I just had to do something. I hated myself and I had to change. But it was not easy. One aspect of how I had to change I outlined in this post titled I was once an approval addict. The process that I describe in that post took me about ten years. I had to constantly work at it. This shit ain’t easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Ten fucking years, man.
But the rewards, oh man, the rewards. In ten years I went from someone who hated myself to not wanting to be anyone else in the world but me. That’s what real happiness is – a satisfaction with who you are. And it gives you a tremendous advantage over everyone else because the vast majority of people spend most of their waking hours caught up in their own mental shit. To say it just gives you an advantage is really underplaying how much of an advantage it is. Clear thinking and decision making free from self-inflicted doubt and anguish.
That last sentence describes Donald Trump. Watch some of the videos when he was in the Republican candidate debates. Him and ten other guys up there on the stage. Trump was on another level and one of the reasons is because he has dealt with all of his internal shit. You could just hear the ego voices in Jeb Bush’s head as he flailed away in desperation.
Change is growth. If you don’t grow then you stagnate. Change is life. We are here to learn and to evolve. If you don’t do it now then you’ll probably have to come back and do it all over again. I hope to hell there is no such thing as reincarnation. It was hard enough doing it once but it was worth it.
By the way, it’s not over. I haven’t arrived. This will go on until the day that I die. That’s life, baby. That’s life. The art of change.