I’m not talented in singing, drawing, cooking, languages…
I’m chaotic, short-tempered, disorganised, useless…
I will never change!
Almost all of us have either, thought, voiced or heard these kinds of statements at least once in our lives.
Such certainty is fatal. It stems the flow of any prospect for change and locks us into our self-perceptions of who we are, avoiding risks and getting out of our comfort zone rather than working towards the possibility of change.
Yes, I said possibility!
Change is life
Without regeneration, we’d die.
If you don’t believe it, think again: your body is in a perpetual state of change as opposed to an almost permanent structure in the sense that cells die and give birth to new ones that replace them. The speed of regeneration may differ. For example, the cells in the stomach lining have a lifetime of three to six days. But, it takes 120 days for red blood cells to regenerate. And, there are many who say that the entire adult human skeleton regenerates itself +/- ever ten years!
The only parts of the human body that last an entire lifetime are our neurons in the cerebral cortex, the cells of our eye’s inner lenses and, possibly, the heart’s muscle. Even so, the body’s ability to form new neurons – neurogenesis – has also been identified in various parts of our adult brain such as the hippocampus, striatum, and olfactory bulb. Therefore we cannot ignore that our brain changes during the course of our lifetime thanks to neuroplasticity: the brain’s ability to change its neural pathways and synapses through behaviour, environment, neural processes, thought and emotion. The brain is therefore a dynamic system, constantly reconfiguring itself.
Neuronal plasticity, which personal development coaches widely promote, is not a panacea for change; but, it is fertile ground for new habits and skills to take root in a conscious and determined way.
Be aware however that profound and beneficial change does not happen in a split second. In reality, getting rid of our toxic behaviours and other bad habits takes time and often requires a lot of energy to develop strategic tactics that are well-defined.
The path to change and adopting new behaviours is paved with errors, failures, discouragements and having to restart. Determination and perseverance are musts, and a good amount of kindness and self-compassion for when you get stuck: when a baby falls learning to walk, they get up and keep learning. There is no failure, only experiences. Where’s the gain without pain?
As we have seen, even if we don’t want to, subconsciously, change is constantly in motion, in our bodies and all around us. On a global scale, there have been more changes in the world over the last 100 years that in the last billion! According to Jason Silva, ‘Radical Openness’ is the engine behind this evolution. It’s why ideas can circulate freely, mutate and evolve. ‘Ideas have made our world evolve (and at an exponentially faster rate) than genes in so many ways.’
Cognitive psychologist and enthusiast, Steven Pinker believes it is humanity that has contributed to the decline in violence and the progress towards good behaviour. This may be true as despite the inequalities and modern-day tragedies of today’s lifestyles, we do not hanker for the lifestyles of the Middle Ages!
In a world that is constantly changing with high-speed technologies and societal developments, we are constantly facing new challenges that push us to adapt.
We need to move from a fixed mindset where we think change is impossible to a progressive mindset where we can learn to change with serenity and confidence.
Change begins with a state of mind. It may sound simplistic, but it’s backed up by science, as psychologist Carole Dweck demonstrates in her research: someone who believes they can change and evolve will have a much easier time to adapt to life’s challenges compared to someone who has a fixed mindset and more inclined to being discouraged and rigid.
Each and every one of us has the possibility to evolve, to better ourselves and to participate in society’s evolvement as a whole. Every one of us has in us the power to start with how we look at things, to be self-aware and conscious of our own amazing potential.
So come on, do you dare to change? It can be a change in your everyday routine or an idea about for you. For example, dare to dream about how ‘you at your very best’ would look like. What would you do? So, why not do it now?
Daniel, Nathalie & Pierre