Changes Can Come from Anywhere, at Anytime
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Potentially life-changing events are happening around us, every, single, day. Don’t seek them, but believe me, they are there. Trying to turn a small moment into something momentous makes the whole thing feel forced. Unfortunately, the hard truth to swallow is that you only find out how momentous they were after the event. This is why you need to be both seeking, and not seeking at the same time: they will appear to you sooner rather than later if you allow them to come to you. What turns them from potential into actual life changing events, is to sate just the smallest fragment of your curiosity, and in doing so, you encompass three powerful realisations.
First, is the enormity of the movement in relation to what came before. Moving from 0 to 1, is a proportionally infinite change. From 1 to 2 is doubling your position, and from 2 to 3 is another half added on. The progress from step 1 to step 2, is as momentous as that from 5 to 10, and from 50 to 100, but none share the impact of the the first step. For me, this came through simply downloading an app on my iPod, one that in essence functioned as a glorified calculator for totting up my calories in excruciating detail. Looking back, though, I can genuinely say that what appeared to be a tiny moment at the time has drastically altered the projection of my life.
Second, you get a whole new perspective. Remember that the first step is of such magnitude, that most people cannot comprehend it, but looking back you realise it was only the slightest change. It is a paradoxical state: from one side, it looks impossible, and from the other, it’s a grain of sand. The tragic irony is this: the task at hand appears either so large that someone chooses to reject it, or so small that they say “I’ll do it tomorrow”. The difference between a potential and an actual, is the channel through which the change works; to become an actual, a notion must interact with execution. The bad news is that when it comes to health, if you don’t execute, you’ll never be the person you could have. Inaction and perfection are the most frequent enemies of good.
Third, you have to stay humble. You exist post-execution. You’ve made it, you did it, you lived to tell the tale. Now, what is that tale? That it is so, damn, easy to change. But remember, that’s possible because of your new perspective. Remember that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. If you found something new that you love, and you want to share it with others, the best way to do so is make your information free and available to all. Act as the best role model you can be. This is a realisation that took me a while to grasp. I couldn’t help but judge what people ate. I acted and thought with good intentions, but I was going about achieving my goals with entirely the wrong approach. This notion works the other around as well: when the student is ready, they will approach you. If you don’t make yourself available, they will simply go elsewhere.
Now how do we apply this concept in the modern world? Let’s take stock: this world is dominated by the fast buck and within that, fast food, and even deeper than that, the fast decision. We should never forget the profit incentive: companies do not exist to feed you or sustain you, they exist to make money. Even the companies who are truly virtuous cannot survive for long without cashflow. Therefore, what better way to achieve that aim than to create food which makes you tired, hungry, and craving more? This is the fast buck: the wool is pulled over your eyes and you detach the produce from the producer. Next time you buy any food product, ask yourself how is this business creating their profit margin? How is it possible that they’re any cheaper than another supplier? Your answer might just be that impetus which starts you off down a wholly different path.
Next is fast food, and I’m not just talking about the usual suspects. Within fast food I include the sandwich meal deal and the low fat microwave meals available at your local supermarket. Even though it may contain what constitutes a meal, it is still fast food. The speed at which we eat and the location, has diminished our respect for food. Often times we value something not at how much it cost, but at how long and how hard we worked to procure it, which can be mitigated by taking the time out to prepare a proper meal, or at the very least sitting down to eat your food. Here’s the extra kicker: your body prioritises movement over digestion so by eating on the go you’re actually getting less out of what you bought, not to mention the health ramifications of food fermenting in your gut. By going slower for just a moment, you might start to realise how fast everything else, including yourself, is moving.
The last part of the puzzle is the fast decision. It is oh so easy to follow the crowd. Every advertisement you see wants you to stop thinking. It tells you that the decision is already made for you. It is easy to make that decision to follow the bombardment again and again just so that we don’t have to face the truth: that we hate our choices, and would much rather stick our heads in the sand. It is this inertia and inactivity of thought which leads the next five years of your life to be exactly the same as the previous five years of your life! By taking just two minutes to think about what you really want to eat, what will benefit you in the long run, you are turning a big corner.
The two small changes which led to large impacts in my life might seem quaint: an app, and a podcast (we truly live in the computer age). Both turned out to be especially suited to my personality and led to success. Remember that both inaction and perfection are the enemies of good. By following our curiosity by just one ounce, and not worrying about the outcome, you can only succeed. Either you find something you like, and you continue, or you don’t like that path, and you learn what not to do. Either way, you have grown.
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I’ll be consistently putting out content at www.cowlean.co.uk, where you can find a wealth of articles, sitting and waiting for you. I like to work a level of empathy into anything I do. I realise how far I’ve grown, and that people can’t be called upon to do what appears to them as the insurmountable (at first). So I tinge my articles with realistic strategies and a sense of humour, and interweave my own experiences in there too. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll see you there.