I’ve been thinking a lot about change.
For such a short word, it’s so loaded. For many, it’s scary; for others, exciting.
I’ve always identified myself as someone who craves change. I don’t know if that’s accurate or “true” (whatever that means) — but I think it’s healthy to believe it’s (and therefore make it) part of my identity.
We can’t change many things about the world around us, but we can change the way we view the world and our place in it. Looking forward to the inevitable change is the best tool I’ve found to embrace myself and those around me.
Over the past six months, I’ve changed quite significantly. For one, I’ve changed my profession: I left a Connecticut-based hedge fund for an African-based startup. Even more profoundly, I’ve changed my belief on the changeability of our values. Six months ago, I argued with my now-boss, then-prospective employer about how values are innate and largely impossible to change. Today, I am energized by co-creating and championing a framework for people to transform themselves — completely and beautifully — into the person they want to become, values and identities included.
For most of my life, unlocking potential has been on my mind. What stops people from achieving greatness? What causes people to give up? Go on? What is the change — psychological, sociocultural, financial — that is needed to transform into the person that you want to be?
All my studies and conversations, struggles and epiphanies have led me to this simple belief: humans are really powerful. Of course, humans are also mean and foolish, beautiful, smart, silly and annoying. But I think at the crux of it is this simple belief that we’re powerful — and that that’s a good thing.
I want us to stop being passive, rather power-hungry — perhaps that in and of itself seems provocative, or uncomfortable, but what I mean is that I want us to be hungry to take control over our lives. I want us to feel ownership over who we are, who we want to be, and who we’re on the path to becoming. Most importantly, I want us to use our power to help unleash others’, to support them through their change, and to change the world with them.
I’ve recently evolved my beliefs about what unlocks potential, what drives transformation. Esteem — believing in one’s and others’ worth — was the first thing that popped in my head. The first part: a genuine belief that you’re worth it. The second: a genuine belief that [he / she / they / you] is and are worth it — that is the key to living in a transformed society.
A few months ago, my now-manager (the one I argued about that values are inherently fixed) told me about this mantra that he had recently learned about:
“I’m not better than anyone; No one’s better than me.”
I’ve thought about that mantra every day since, it’s what clarified for me that believing in others’ potential is a necessary step in unlocking oneself. Those 10 words have challenged me, frustrated me, and ultimately accelerated my transformation more than any single instance I can point to. Not to say that I’ve been able to fully hold that belief. We’ve all been socialized to group ourselves, to calculate who is better than us, who we’re better than. I am no exception.
The Power to Change
What if we change that? What great things can we achieve — together as we believe in each other’s worth and ability, and alone when we’re freed from the psychological shackles of constantly comparing ourselves to those around us?
Let’s lean into the vulnerability of perseverance as we pursue our path to becoming our best selves.
Let’s share our ideas openly, without hesitation of embarrassment or guilt for wasting someone more important’s time.
Let’s explore things open-mindedly, without an itch to prove who’s right.
Here’s to the first step of living in the world I want to be a part of — here’s to the power we have in making that change.