10,000 Changes

Last week I wrote used the analogy that life is like filling up a glass jar with rocks and sand.  The best way to do this is to put the largest rocks in the jar and then fill in around them with the smaller ones and, ultimately, the sand.  This allows for the smaller items to fill in the crevices created by the larger ones.  Of course, if the opposite approach is taken, one would find difficulty fitting in the larger rocks after the jar is partially filled with the smaller items.  This simply would not work.

Going Contrarian

Those who follow the investing world are familiar with the contrarian investor.  This is an individual who goes against the prevailing wisdom.  For example, everyone might be touting how the stock market is going to continue to go up while the contrarian is betting that it goes the opposite direction.  It is a challenge, emotionally, to stray from the masses.  Man does not do well when he is an island unto himself.  We are social beings requiring validation from others.  That is why most people will follow others off a cliff simply because they lack the fortitude to do something different.

Today, I am going to suggest doing something different.  Many people write about finding your purpose and making a grand plan of the most important items in your life.  This is the "big rock" approach which is perfectly valid.  However, many get caught up by the fact that they do not have any idea what their purpose is.  This fact frustrates many and is the main reason for failure.  After a short while, the individual simply throws up his or her hands and says "forget it". 

We are going to adopt radically different tactic then what is was just prescribed.  People get into ruts because everything is the same.  Life takes on a repetitive nature which can make things mundane.  Get up, go to work, come home, go to sleep and do it all over again the next day.  Even on a weekly basis, we see the same pattern.  In short, there is no passion or drive.  Of course, if this person had an overriding purpose, things would be different.  Nevertheless, we need an approach for someone who cannot figure that out.

10,000 Changes

It is time to change things up.  This is the method that I am going to suggest today.  Instead of focusing on larger scale of life, we are going to advocate focusing on the micro.  Contrary to popular belief, a person can radically alter his or her life by doing many things differently.  Even if the "big rocks" are the same, job, family, house, this technique, over time, will help one out of the rut.

10,000 changes seems like a lot.  However, when you consider all the actions you take on a daily basis, it really is not.  Each day, we do thousands of things, most of it unnoticed.  This causes a problem in the fact that we tend to go through life on "auto-pilot".  Little is really notices about the world we live in or how we interact with it.  The mundane aspect of things results when these conditions actions become so ingrained in us that we do little to deviate from it.

Utilizing this approach forces us to look at the unnoticed actions which we are taking on a daily basis.  Even awareness is helpful at creating change.  However, the biggest benefit comes when we make a conscious decision to alter some behavior.  Now an individual needs to be careful not to expect too much from a single change.  This is the reverse of the "big rock" approach.  Sure, if you quit your job, that is going to have a radical impact upon your life.  I doubt very highly you will experience the same magnitude by changing how you hang the roll of toilet paper in your bathroom.  Yet, the bottom line is both are changes.

I am a strong advocate of making tons of minor changes as a means of altering your life.  Anyone who has tried this method realizes that one is quickly conditioned to seek out change.  This is direct contrast to the average person who does his or her best to avoid change.  Most people run from change for as long as they can.  Here, we are moving into the realm of adopting a lifestyle which is based upon change.  It is ironic that this move puts us in accordance with nature since that is system which is ever changing.  In life, there is no standing still.

Start With 10 Actions

The best way to begin this process is to take out a piece of paper and write down 10 changes that you can make rather easily.  Again, we are not necessarily looking for the big rocks although they can be noted.  Here we are most likely focusing upon the sand or, at worse, smaller rocks.  Choosing 10 gives one a good basis for establishing a track record for change.  Plus, if these are minor in scope, they all can be completed in short order.  Getting started is the key.

To help you get started, let us look at a few basic activities.  Which do you wash first when showering, your hair or body?  Do you shave before brushing your teeth or after?  Are veggies a part of every meal?  What route do you travel to work?  Do you allow things to pile up before tending to them?  Are you one to reach for a donut or candy when you are upset?  Do you open your email as soon as you get to work?

Notice how these questions make us focus upon the basics of our day.  Few of these answers are ever considered by most people.  However, delving into all that we do, especially at the subconscious level allows us to make impact changes over time.  Life is literally made up of a series of minor actions all strung together.  Altering even a few of those behaviors has the ability to send us off on a completely different path down the road.

I want you to repeat this process each day for the next week.  Everyday, select 10 actions/things you can change.  After a week, you will have made at least 70 changes.  If you can carry this out for a month, you will be conditioned to look for and embrace change.  Take this a step further, if done for a year, you will be astounded at the radical improvement in your life.  Ruts will be a thing of the past.  Seek to change 10,000 things in your life.  Just the process alone will net you a tremendous windfall.

By the way, while doing this, do not be surprised that if somewhere along the line you do discover some big rocks to tend to.  Many have found their life purpose by pursuing this method.
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