We asked James Altucher to write us a piece to ease us into 2015. Here’s what he sent back, reminding us that change starts from within.
Children laugh on average 300 times a day. Adults... 5.
I don't really know why. Maybe it's our additional responsibilities. Or maybe it's the changes that are approaching us non-stop that we are afraid to take.
I suspect I have another 10-20 big changes left in me. As for small changes, I try to make them every day. Or I lose practice.
Saying “No” to a change that’s begging for you, will kill you. Benjamin Franklin said, “Most people die at 25 but are buried at 75.”
You can’t ask the world to change… you have to change first.
When you start a new change, here is what happens. Well, I have no clue what happens to you. Here is what happens to me.
I get scared:
What will happen to me? I’ll go broke! Or be lonely! Or get sick!
Practice dealing with uncertainty – it’s the only way to get comfortable with this fear.
Everything is either an obstacle to growth, or an obstacle to keep you from growing. The good thing is: you get to choose.
Bosses won’t want you to quit. Colleagues will get scared because it means change is forced on them. And depending on your change, maybe family is unhappy (when I was thrown out of school, my family was certainly unhappy).
Whoever wrote your script will be unhappy. You’re changing the movie.
There’s NOTHING to say to the people who argue with you.
Because they are right also. In their life situations, it’s very right for THEM for you not to quit. Why argue with them? Conserve your energy for your change, not for the weights on your back that will try to hold you down.
Let’s say you are leaving a relationship or a job or an agreement. I can tell you: someone is ready to make you feel guilty about this.
It’s hard not to feel guilt, particularly if someone is sad because of “what you are doing to them”.
But much worse is the guilt you will feel if you don’t make the change your body and the universe is telling you to make. The universe is much bigger than the person on the other side. To go against that flow will make you sink and drown.
I don’t think I’ve ever once made a change in my life that didn’t involve me crying either on the day of the big change or sometime that week.
Why cry? Isn’t that a bit wimpy?
Change is very lonely.
But you will never be lonely if you enjoy being with the person you are alone with.
None of the above sounds that great actually. So why change at all?
PREVENT MUSCLE ATROPHY
When a car doesn’t start all winter, the engine will get ruined.
When you don’t walk for two weeks, your leg muscles atrophy and you need physical therapy to walk.
Change is a muscle.
STEEP FEELS GOOD
When you change you go from a flattening learning curve (your old situation) to a steep learning curve (the new situation).
Steep learning curves feel good. Like the feeling of new love.
YOU WERE IN THE WRONG SCRIPT
At every stage of our lives, the people around us try to write our scripts.
When we are young the script your family writes you might be: school, cubicle, promotions, management, CEO, retirement, death.
But you might realize that the right script for you didn’t include “cubicle”.
You have to rewrite your script.
If you stay in the old script it’s like acting in a role that is not written for you.
You want to be in a work of art, not a forgery or a plagiarism.
When we were kids we played different games all the time. We would never play the same game for 300 days in a row, for 20 years in a row.
But then we got handed our "scripts" by our parents, schools, political parties, jobs, institutions, etc. We were told to stick to the script. But we never stopped being the boy or girl who wanted to play.
Getting good at change (big, small, tiny – every day) means getting good at life.
Do it without expectation. Wish for nothing. Care for everything. Happiness will be in between.
– This is a guest blog by James Altucher. As it is a guest blog it may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see www.virgin.com/terms for more details.
– Background image from Getty Images.