In my life, I’ve encountered change in all directions–for better or worse. Stability wasn’t something that I even knew existed in life, until recently
An old mentor of mine used to say, “Once you stop growing, that is when you start dying. We change each day: for better or for worse.”
In my life, I found this to be quite true. There would be times when I go out on a journey of spiritual or philosophical growth, and others where I just wanted to lounge around and watch TV. There were times in my life where I could unconsciously influence a group of people to simultaneously move their feet in as I walked by, as my charisma was off the charts. Then there were other times, when I could hardly get someone, even a close friend, to listen to the problems of my life.
Throughout my life, I tried to focus on consistent and never-ending improvement, yet I have come to find that there are a lot of instances of my life, where fear just kicks in. I’m definitely not the bravest person out there. If I were to call anyone brave, it would be my dear friend. Me personally though… I’m just a coward who tries to cover up his fears.
I have a strong resistance to change, whether good or bad.
It’s something my body, let alone my mind, isn’t used to. The first thing I always encounter is fear. I used to always be the type of person who would expect things to go exactly as planned, yet as I grew older, I came to realize that there were many roadblocks that prevented me from where I wanted to go.
When these roadblocks began to arise, I used to become scared.
I didn’t know how to handle them, nor how dangerous they could potentially be. I also didn’t know what I was supposed to do, as each new roadblock was something new. A part of me inside just wanted to refute the change, as it was something that I didn’t understand.
So, sometimes I would just freeze up, like a deer in the headlights, and just watch everything tumble away. Other times, I would sit back and strategize, thinking of a way out. Sometimes, I would even do the irrational, and try to bum rush my way through.
Sometimes I would be successful, others not so much.
However, I wasn’t just scared of change for the negative, I also feared change for the positive. When I used to do sales, there came a point where I was so good at it, I even convinced myself that everything I said was true. I feared the kind of influence I was gaining, so I decided to walk away from that career, even though it led to a six figure income.
There was another instance, when my mentor was teaching me how to get in tune with my body. I have absolutely no clue how to explain how to do this, as I don’t understand it myself. But on one night, I was able to achieve it.
I could feel every single hair on my body. I was in sync with my heart beat. I could feel my heart pounding through my chest. My emotions were heightened and I could just sense everything. I ended up crying that night, thinking of everyone who I loved dearly, with all my heart.
Maybe they call this nirvana.
Who in the world knows. But that completely freaked me out. After that instance, the next day, I was so in tune with who I was, that people who I had never met before randomly came up to me and asked me for genuine advice.
It was like I had a specific aura to myself that just influenced safety and respect from others, while I did nothing at all.
I was scared of who I was becoming, because I wasn’t used to the type of potential that our human bodies are capable of achieving. I decided to hide from my mentor, instead of further honing my skills.
Then there were the times when my life just collapsed on me. Since all my tragic events happened unexpectedly, without any type of forward warning, I didn’t have a clue what to do. The worst time I froze up was when I was losing my loft. I finally accepted my fate and was ready to just live under a bridge, without the slightest idea on how to survive.
Each of these events took months for me to recover from, as I needed a lot of time to adjust to the drastic changes in my life. Especially since I had such high expectations for my life to go in a certain direction.
Change seems to be something that is absolutely inevitable. Something I came to find as I aged. Something I finally began to understand just this year.
Throughout my life, I have tried my best to follow a philosophy by the name of Kaizen, which stands for consistent and never-ending improvement, yet for some reason I always fell short.
I fell short because my expectations got in the way. I fell short because my life wasn’t going as planned. I fell short because I didn’t understand how to embrace change.
Then, one day, something in my mind finally clicked.
After years of self reflection, I finally came to realize that change is inevitable. I should figure out how to embrace it instead.
So, I decided to be like water. To move with the flow, as opposed to trying to have the tides rush over and drown me. Or even providing resistance, to keep me where I was positioned. Instead, I should flow with the stream, and ride the wave to where it took me.
In this transition of my life, I decided that I needed to get rid of all the expectations I had set for my life. I needed to eliminate my goals. Instead, I needed to just be the person I wanted to be, and do what I felt was right. In turn, my whole life flipped upside down, or should I say right side up.
No longer was I this person, who had set out on a conquest to achieve success, yet fail at every roadblock presented to me. Instead, I understood that adversity would always come my way. With that mindset, I knew that I just needed to figure out how to flow around the changes, as I came to expect them to arrive.
This brings me back to another statement my mentor always said. “If you live life as an experience, you will have no limitations.”
I decided to live my life as an experience, not as a person who had just sought out to achieve unrealistic self imposed limitations, or what people call dreams, goals, or even aspirations.
Now, I have been able to achieve more success than I could have possibly fathomed, because I stopped fighting my internal needs to fight and resist change. Fortunately, I have decided to embrace it instead.
Originally posted on Quora.
Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.