One of my favorite writers is Mark Manson, the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. He has a brilliant and contrarian way of viewing the human experience and his writing is always thought-provoking.
He really had me thinking on a recent blog where he made the argument that you can’t change yourself. His basic premise is that you need to keep your “self” out of the discussion entirely.
Mark says, “Why can’t you change yourself? Because the whole idea of change is an arbitrary construct. It’s something you just made up to make yourself feel good (or bad).” As an example, he uses the idea of becoming the person who regularly goes to the gym.
“It’s one thing to say, ‘I want to start going to the gym every week.’ It’s another to say, ‘It’s time I finally change and become the type of person who goes to the gym each week.’
“The first statement is simple. You want to go to the gym. So, you go (or not).
“The second statement implies that to go to the gym, you must completely reinvent yourself. And that raises the emotional stakes massively. If you succeed (spoiler: you won’t), you’ll gain this blissful feeling of being a ‘new person,’ which will last until the next time you feel crappy and want to ‘change’ again. If you fail, you’ll chastise yourself for your irredeemable sloth.”
It’s a very Zen-like or even stoic approach to creating a certain identity about yourself, and the dangers of that. So I get that, and as always, Mark has me thinking. But this runs contrary to a great deal of the foundational structure of my own beliefs and work.
Because I very much believe you can change yourself. And instead of thinking the process shallow and impossible, I find it wonderfully introspective and rewarding. And yet I do understand his trepidation about succeeding in changing your behavior, and concern that after the high wear offs, you’ll need to define for yourself a new type of “change” to accomplish.
However, that can be the best part…
But only if you accept and appreciate the joy is in the journey. And only if you understand the most vital part of the process. (At least from my perspective.) And that is this…
I do believe you can actually change, and become a higher version of yourself, and the “kind” of person you want to become. And to do that successfully, you must make the most dramatic change of all:
Changing the way you think.
Literally. You have to think about what you think about. Choose your thoughts mindfully, making a conscious choice for the ones that lead you forward to a higher consciousness.
In my opinion both Mark and I get you to the same end result, which is changing your behaviors to ones that create the results you’re seeking.
I believe when you change your thoughts, you actually do change yourself.
What do you think? Please check in below.
SEEKING perfection: As I see it there is no perfection, that is an idealism, it's a wish - to me life is progressing through stages of consciousness, and it is from what stage we are at in the present moment that our world view is formed. Idealism is hard to see through. What don't you or we like about ourselves - what is the reason for the change. We are not who we think we are, we are actually thought constructs until we see through how we have used thoughts to create a identity, an image of ourselves, a false one albeit. When we can see through our processing we come into Being and that is a whole different story.
Yes, I agree we can change our thoughts and beliefs. I also think there is a lot of propaganda trying to change us.
We can also change thoughts frim positive to negative then back to positive.
Changing thoughts and beliefs changes you.
It also changes whether you are in heaven or not. Be kind. Believe we are all created equal and in the light.
If you don't do personal d velopment, others are controlling you.
Absolutely Randy- when I think about my next success, I tend to do the actions that lead to that result. When I think about why it will never happen, then it usually doesn't because my actions do not support my purpose. Great blog post!
I agree with that premise Sir Randy. Further to that is that God gave us the power of choice and inherent goodness. Prior to understanding "bodies of work" like yours, Charles Fillmore for example, Stephen R Covey etc., changing my thinking was an "arduous task", as I recall. ~ maybe immersion in this mind/body/spirit connection content was "the catalyst" that ignited growth..
~ add a real and nurtured appreciation for the power of thought and thinking as regards cause and effect..
~ I found my MIND "looking" for progressive and relevant insights to evolve it's "belief systems"
it was like a "confirmation bias" each new "breakthrough" experienced..
we CAN change ourselves, and we can do so elegantly, cohesively, smoothly, pleasurably (no resistance) when it's approached with reverence and gratitude, I find..
the beautiful thing about it is it can parametered as an adventure in paradise, and leveraged by critical thinking..
it requires commitment and work, mindfulness, discipline and honesty, to effect positive change. It's very doable!
Just heard from Mark on Twitter. He said, "Mmm... I don't think the point of the post came across. My argument is that we have to redefine how we understand "change," re: our identity. This definitely falls under the umbrella of "changing our thinking."
So like I thought, I believe we both got to the same space in the end. -RG