Change is advertised absolutely everywhere nowadays: in our inbox, on TV, on social media. From dramatic weight loss videos to the multiplication of “how to…” self-help books that promise the moon (and even more), it becomes hopeless to ignore the phenomenon- even more not to compare ourselves to those “after” pictures… Apart from the devastating effect that this can have on our self-esteem, this can give us the impression that change is something extreme, spectacular, something that requires drastic moves- “Eat, Pray, Love” or “Into the wild” kind of thing (I let you make your choice). And by focusing on what seems to be a huge unachievable challenge, we discourage ourselves and end up doing…nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes change can be that, but most of the time, we can introduce achievement, excitement, fulfilment, whatever it is we are looking for with very little. It’s not all about quitting your job and move to a desert island, it’s about taking A change– understand ANY change: from taking a different itinerary to go to work to have a different breakfast than usual. I call those tiny steps “the seeds of change”; under the appearances of totally innocent modifications, they are very powerful. Why? First of all, because you actually take them! They usually don’t represent a huge investment of time or money, are easy to apply and integrate into your everyday life. But also because, if you can easily see their practical and immediate effect on the short term, their long term impact is a complete unknown.
For example, let’s say you decide to spend your evening reading rather than watching TV. Immediate effect: you read more books, most likely get more information about subjects you like, nice! Long term effect: you could become passionate about a new subject, you could meet your new best friend at a book club, you could marry your librarian or…nothing but the pleasure of reading every evening. “The seeds of change” have this magic side that you never know what you will get out of it, so you have to give them a chance and enjoy them for what they are- not what they could potentially become.
A few years ago, my friends offered me a voucher for a travel agency for my thirty’s birthday. It took me more than a year to know what to do with it (yeah I wasn’t that open at that time), but I finally decided to acknowledge its presence, plant it and give it a bit of my attention. It took three months for this seed to bud, seven to become a cutting and three years to become a shiny grown-up sunflower (more about the results of my planting in future posts 😉 ).
Learn to give a chance to the book a friend recommended you, the charity event in your community you received a flyer in your mailbox or the dog sitting your sister asks you for. Stay open, curious and attentive, change is all around you waiting to be seized!