I had an interesting conversation with someone this morning about where they were in life. I sensed that they were muddling through rather than working towards what they aspired to & could be.
In our discussion, I finally was able to verbalize something that I learned in the last ten years. That there are only three basic ways to create change in your life. Skills, network, or discipline. End of story.
To evolve as a person, you need to become aware of things that you are not exposed to. Then embrace the new awareness, change your ways or thinking and run with it. Then repeat these steps over and over.
Acquiring new skills has never been easier when using the internet. There are a multitude of ways to learn — YouTube, Skillshare, Coursera, Udemy, etc. to name a few. Trial and error also works well. Learning how to post on social media or advertise in any platform. Learning a new language or how to make sushi are just a few keystrokes away.
With new skills, you can now tackle different projects or problems. Something may become easier for you, once you know how it is done. Or the opposite might happen, where you gain an appreciation for an obstacle you face because you now understand where a tool or way of thinking has its limitations.
Network is an even bigger lever for change. Both personal and professional. Who you surround yourself on a regular basis defines how small or big the world is that you live in. If you are around complainers or negative people you will begin to complain and be negative as well. One way to change this is to find new friends that are more positive.
Professionally or personally, if you feel you are treading water or stumbling or things just are not working out for you, seek out different people with different experiences. You will always learn something from those who have had broader and different life experience than you have.
What is important here is to be humble enough to say to strangers that I am stuck, or I am stumbling and need your help. Never knowing where the conversation will go is ok. Always needing to trust the process for the chance to learn something new from others. Some of what they say may be of more value, some less. What I have always found, is that I can continually learn something from anyone I meet. No matter their circumstance.
Finding discipline is important to help you stop doing the dumb things you are doing now because you know better. It’s not eating the cupcake when you want to eat healthier. Not watching Netflix to work on a project that will help you improve your life. Instead of going to the mall to buy shoes you don’t need, you stay home and clean your room that has become so messy. Or simply find the discipline to stop doing dumb things so that you can gain skills or broaden your network of contacts because evolving and changing your circumstance is now very important to you.
Skill, network or find discipline. You can choose one, the other or all three. Doing all of them, will over time, provide you with even greater change in your life. This message is not hard to understand. Its as easy as knowing that exercise will make you more fit.
The difficult part in trying to implement either the skill or network levers or finding discipline in your life, is that there is no shortcut to needing to put in the time and work. It’s the same message that exercise demands. It requires effort. Of getting tired. Exhausted. And then waking up and doing it again.
As with most things in life, it’s both easy and hard. But well worth the effort if you choose to try.