I was reading Seth Godin’s marketing blog a few days ago and he wrote about a rich woman who walked into a store and bought a $3,000 ski jacket. Why? Just because that’s what she does. She’s the kind of person who walks into a store and buys a pricy ski jacket.
In our lives, we often do things just because that’s the way we’ve always done them. Think about this sentence and fill in the blank: I’m the kind of person who….Or, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t…For starters, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t write a blog – and yet, here I am. Why?
Because if you want to change your life, then change your life.
It’s that simple. I have to take one positive step away from who I always am. I have to be willing to take a risk, and slip out of my comfort zone. By doing something new and different, I become someone new and different.
I’m learning how to be the best me I can be. And what’s surprising is this: To become more me, I have to be less me.
It’s tough to break out of old patterns. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of Jack Nicholson’s character in “As Good As It Gets” when he says, “You make me want to be a better man.” An exaggerated example, but it illustrates how difficult it is for us to change ourselves. For example, I spend way too much time standing in front of the toilet paper display in the supermarket aisle trying to figure it all out. Do I want strong or soft? Long or thick? Or recycled and scratchy? You see, I’m the kind of person who’s indecisive. Why? Because I’m a perfectionist, so I want every little decision to be perfect. But what if I try something completely different? What if I try being spontaneous and decisive? What if I give myself permission to zip down the supermarket aisle and reach for a package of toilet paper without over-thinking it?
Just for today I can do the opposite of what I’ve always done to see how it feels. I can try a new behavior as an experiment. I might decide to go back to doing what I’ve always done but at least I’ve stepped out of my holding pattern. I’m willing to try being less myself in order to become more myself.
I’m not going to be a woman who buys a $3,000 ski jacket just because I can. (I can’t.) And even if I could afford it, I’d rather spend the money to help someone else who can’t afford any jacket, much less a $3,000 one. But I would like to try something different today, just as an experiment.
Which brings me to Albert Einstein: “The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery…There is a leap in consciousness…and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.” We have to side-step our own minds to discover something astonishing.
Do you always do something because it’s something you’ve always done? What can you do today that’s different? Fill in the blanks: “I’m the kind of person who___” and “I’m the kind of person who doesn’t____” For today, can you do the opposite?
Coming up soon — my interview with journalist and Holocaust survivor Noah Klieger who has just become a Knight in France. He talks about how to be a hero in your own life.