As the month winds down and yet another monthly challenge comes to a close, I want to take some time to reflect on the shift in mindset the first half of 2016 has brought upon me.
One of the easiest things to do when a creative, albeit crazy, idea enters our minds is to exaggerate the craziness and discount the creativity. Our minds are led to the conclusion, provided by the external perception of everyone around us, that there’s a reason no one else is doing this, so come back down to “reality” and don’t divert from what is familiar and accepted.
This is a frightening trap to fall into. As human beings, we do so many things in an inefficient and borderline ignorant manner that those who are ready to cry foul when something new comes around should be the people we listen to the least. A fear of change and innovation is one in which everyone should seek to eliminate.
This certainly hyperbolizes the challenges I have personally taken on thus far, but remains an active thought each time I choose my next challenge. If something provocative enters my mind, I allow the thought to develop freely without any restrictions. In many cases, our thoughts are never allowed to go through a full life cycle because our fear of exploration puts an end to the possibility of a thought becoming an action.
With these fears and many others limiting our potential, why not trade those fears in for a different fear; the fear of the “what if I don’t?”
What if I don’t learn about the negative health effects of eating too much sugar? Then I’ll lack the incentive to change my dietary habits. What if I don’t explore my mind and block out the external distractions for a moment each day? Then I’ll never discover who I truly am. What if I don’t take ownership in my weekly meal planning? Then I’ll never eliminate the stress of daily indecision and overpayment on restaurant dining. What if I don’t ask myself about the common comforts I experience on a daily basis? Then I’ll remain ignorant to the evolution of the human body and the inventions that are working against my body’s needs.
When we are able to exchange the fears that bind our hands and feet for those that allow us to grow wings and explore the world around us, we hold an invaluable power to change ourselves and our environment for the better.
I would strongly recommend making changes in that order as well. Change yourself first, your environment second. Let me explain.
If I don’t have myself together, with clarity of thought, then I will never be able to make an impact on others around me. The combination of self-assessment, self-creation, community assessment, and community creation is a fluid dynamic that needs balanced attention to all four elements. Once I allow my focus to become too engaged in one element, the other three will be left behind and progress will falter.
There is no doubt that addressing all of these components is not a simple task. I constantly find myself swinging like a pendulum.
For a few months, I’ll commit myself to empathizing with the struggles of others, digging myself into an emotional hellhole that keeps me anxious and depressed. Then, I’ll run away and hide in the depths of my mind as I commit myself to self-care and get my emotions back in control. The magical moments in between, where I am equally committed to the individual fights of my peers and the strengthening of my own mind, are the equilibrium I seek.
Making that pendulum cover less and less distance until it finally stops is one of my life goals. When I can make an impact at the community and personal level at the same time, every minute of my day will produce results that can infect the world with some much needed positivity.
As I continue working on this balancing act, I encourage you to ask yourself the same question I highlighted above. What if you don’t act on the questions you know will produce a positive impact in your life? I can promise you, the answer will throw you into action.