Your Guide To Creating Lasting Change

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Caterpillar turning into a butterfly
By Suzanne D Williams on Unsplash

Change. We have all wanted to create change at some point in our lives, whether it's change within ourselves, others, or even society as a whole. Change is something that must be embraced and used to our advantage otherwise, you will get left behind.


For me, I see change as an ever-present necessity for a happy life as I derive my happiness from my growth and by becoming a better version of myself day by day. If I choose not to accept change, I would stagnate and shrivel.


The image above displays some of the lifecycle of a caterpillar, they begin in their earth-bound form before enduring a phase of growth and metamorphosis, where they form a chrysalis and a whole new form of life emerges from it. They can fly!


(If you want to see this process, check out: Monarch Crysalis to Butterfly)


Now, if it is that smoking habit you want to kick or you just want to start going to the gym a bit more, this guide will help you make positive change and get you to where you want to be.



 

Why Do We Do It?


The best way to understand how to change a certain behaviour is to learn the governing forces that lead us into acting out these behaviours. Let me introduce you;

Pain and Pleasure

Now that I've said it, it seems pretty obvious, but before it was introduced to me by Tony Robbins in his book Awaken the Giant Within, I was left floundering when it came to deciphering what made me do the things that I did. When broken down it's always the same, you're either getting away from pain or moving towards pleasure.


This knowledge helps us grasp a predicament that has baffled us all, why do we do something that we know we shouldn't do, something that we genuinely don't want to do?


Think of procrastination, we're putting off a task that we KNOW we should do, why? Because the pain of taking action at that moment is greater than putting it off. However, when you've put the task off for so long, you may suddenly get the urge to just get it done. Suddenly, the pain of taking action becomes less than the pain of putting it off. Oftentimes, this added pain comes from the disappointment we feel about ourselves from feeling lazy.



 

Pain is The Most Powerful Motivator


The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.

-Tony Robbins


Plaster being put on finger
Image by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Oftentimes, however, we do experience pain, but we still fail to make the change that we were aiming for. This is because the pain experienced was not great enough, you have not yet hit the emotional threshold.


You hit an emotional threshold when you finally hit a level of pain that you just aren't willing to settle for anymore, "I've had it! Never again! I must change now!" These are the remarks of a person hitting an emotional

threshold.


Even though you may think that all this pain is a bad thing, here is where something magical happens... pain becomes our friend! Now pain is our motivator, it drives us, it pushes us to change and to produce new results! Now, if we begin to imagine all the pleasure that this change will bring to our lives as well, we will be even more compelled to act.


What you link pain to and what you link pleasure to shapes your destiny. All of our lives have been shaped by what we've learned will generate pleasure and what we've learned will generate pain. That is our life's most important lesson. However, this lesson is different for each of us and therefore, so are our behaviours.



 

Your Path is Yours to Choose


The following insert from Tony's book truly speaks wonders about how it is our own internal perception of our environment that decides our destiny, not the environment itself.


He was bitter and cruel, an alcoholic and a drug addict who almost killed himself several times. Today he serves a life sentence in prison for the murder of a liquor store cashier who "got in his way." He has two sons, born a mere eleven months apart, one of whom grew up to be "just like Dad": a drug addict who lived by stealing and threatening others until he, too, was put in jail for attempted murder. His brother, however, is a different story; a man who's raising three kids, enjoys his marriage, and appears to be truly happy. As a regional manager for a major national concern, he finds his work both challenging and rewarding. He's physically fit, and has no alcohol or drug addictions! How could these two young men have turned out so differently, having grown up in virtually the same environment? Both were asked privately, unbeknownst to the other, "Why has your life turned out this way?" Surprisingly, they both provided the exact same answer: "What else could I have become, having grown up with a father like that?"

We can learn from this example that it is never the environment, never the events of our lives, but instead, it is the meaning that we attach to these events that truly shape who we are today and, more importantly, who we will be tomorrow.



 

You Need to Believe


We often discuss our beliefs. But what really is a belief?


A belief is simply a feeling of certainty that we have about something.

Having a sense of certainty about something allows us to fully utilise our abilities surrounding that belief. However, oftentimes, it is our lack of certainty that holds us back from the results that we desire, as it causes us to not use our full capacity.


Here is an example; if you were to hold the belief that you are intelligent, you would act in a way that allows you to gain intelligent results. When you don't hold this belief, you may hide your attempts to generate an intelligent answer or simply not try at all, out of fear of embarrassment. This fear stops you from even getting close to the result that was possible from yourself.


The main point here is that having these positive certainties allow you to operate to your capacity, they allow you to begin and work towards the goal of the situation. The biggest gain from having this mindset is that it allows you to try. Then, to try with your whole ability. If you do that, you get the greatest possible result from yourself, you deliver max effort.

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Now, I want to answer those of you who are rebuking my claims with things like "Well, I just am not smart/sexy/hardworking."


Which, fine, I get it, I think that self-reflection and self-awareness are super important and that we shouldn't lie to ourselves. If we don't work hard enough, we know we should be working harder. Correct.


But at the end of the day, due to the power that we now know that our beliefs have over us, we should make a very conscious decision over which ones we hold.

And the deciding factor should be this; is this belief empowering or disempowering me?

Our goal should be our growth, the betterment of ourselves. So choose to believe what makes you grow, what makes you bigger and stronger.


Change your belief that you don't work hard to that you're the hardest worker in the room, your action will change alongside it until you are the hardest worker in the room. These beliefs hold power because of the real-world actions that stem from them. Holding a belief solely within yourself is impossible, it will eventually spill out for all to see.



 

How to Change Your Beliefs


So now that I've got you all riled up and ready to replace your old disempowering beliefs with new ones that will push you towards success, you're left with a burning question, "how do I do it?"


Don't worry, I'm here to help.


As we have learnt earlier, pain is a great motivator, since birth it has been our guide away from things that hurt us. So, your goal is to associate huge pain with your past belief.

Since you've decided to change this belief of yours, there must be some reason that has made you come to this decision. What has holding this belief cost you in the past? What is it costing you right now? Most importantly, what is it going to cost you if you continue to hold it into the future?


Do it. Do it right now. I'll wait...


Now that that's out of the way, what are you going to replace your shitty old belief with? I've found that the complete opposite can be helpful;


"I'm ugly." No, you're not. "I'm beautiful!"

"I'm awkward." Nope. "I'm super confident!"

"People don't like me." Are you silly? "People love me!"


Think of how this new belief will make you feel. Will it bring you more happiness, more freedom, more love, more confidence, what is it that has made you want this?


Once you have discovered all of the great things that will come to you, associate great pleasure with these things, tell yourself how much joy you will get from doing this.


The only reason we have a belief about something is that we've linked massive pain to not believing it or massive pleasure to keeping it alive.

-Tony Robbins



 

A Personal Example


I'll share with you a problem belief that I held, how it negatively affected me, and then the positivity that has arisen from replacing it with a more productive thought process.


I had the irrational belief that everyone really disliked me, spoke about me behind my back, basically near on hating me.


I had no real reason to back up this mindset, meeting someone and having them dislike me was a rarity and my knowledge of people chatting shit about me was pretty much non-existent. Yet, I let this get in my way for many years.


This belief slowly seeped across all my relationships, from people I have known and loved for years, to people who are merely acquaintances, to those I don't even know. I was just always thinking "that guy is thinking something bad about me right now." It's a rather self-centred way of thinking to be honest, is everyone really thinking about me that much?


I hadn't actually realised I thought like this until one day I spoke to someone for the first time, this was someone that I didn't know but I saw them regularly, I had always just assumed that he disliked me and I guess with that, that he was a bad person so I disliked him back. But then I discovered, wow, this guy isn't bad at all, he's actually perfectly kind if anything.


So Tiago, where did you get that idea of him from?


After taking a moment to really go through my thoughts I realised it. I always have a preconception of people that they hate me. So, do I just have a bad self-image or do I just dislike people myself from the get-go? A bit of both really.


It was a confusing realisation as I had always felt that I had a great self-image, to a point where it was slightly egotistical, so why would I think that people don't like me?


That's the thing, it was pretty irrational so there wasn't any real reasoning. Maybe a rare occasion here or there but nothing to warrant something of this stature. So, I believe that I must have blown one of these situations out of proportion in my head and then generalized it to all people.


Thankfully, I discovered this limiting belief, replaced it with an empowering one, conditioned it into myself, and am now reaping the rewards of getting better at this aspect of my life. I'm still not amazing, it is a constant process that I am still getting better at.


Even now, I'm still assuming that every one of you reading this will just dislike me for what I'm writing and who I am. But now I can consciously work against these thoughts once they pop into my head as I know that they aren't benefitting me.


This segment is quite long, so thanks for taking the time to hear about my experience.

I hope that it can help you with yours.



 

Conclusion

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.

-The Buddha


This quote encapsulates the huge power of our mind and how our destinies, our results, and our outcomes are all determined by the persistent thought patterns and beliefs that we hold.


I hope that with this new understanding, you can be more conscious of what you allow to whirl around inside of your head and hopefully, you can better many aspects of your life.


Think great things and great things will come to you!



Thanks so much for reading,

Tiago

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