We all want to change our internal reality on some level. The way we think, interpret, react, cope, expect, process, interact, and communicate. The way we create our own experiences: good and bad. The way we manage our fears. Or, perhaps, don’t manage them. The way we avoid big decisions. The way we wait. And wait. And wait. That is, procrastinate.
The way we see ourselves. Talk to ourselves. The way we feel. Our emotions. The way we deal with stressful situations. Or, perhaps, the way we create stress in our world. The way we see the world and us in it. The labels we give things. The meaning we give certain experiences. The way we give away our power. And take it back. The way we look for approval. And acceptance.
The way we beat ourselves up. And make ourselves unhappy. The way we pretend. And act. And deny. The way we continue on with the same unproductive and destructive patterns, habits, and behaviors. The way we have the same pointless conversations about the same issues with the same people. And produce the same less-than-desirable results. Forever. The way we do the same things over and over and then curiously wonder why nothing changes. The way we start things we never finish.
Yes, we all want to change on some level. We all want to become a better version of ourselves. To learn, grow, evolve, and adapt. That’s why we explore personal development stuff.
So, what is the single quickest way to create an internal shift? To change the way we think, feel, interpret, react, cope, expect, process, interact, and communicate? Three simple words:
Experience new things.
Do Different to Be Different
When we do things we’ve never done before, there’s an instant and automatic internal shift. Expectations, emotions, attitudes, and beliefs (about what’s possible for us) change. The internal shift is simply a byproduct of a new experience. Of doing something we’ve never done before.
Change comes from doing. For the most part, we don’t ‘think’ ourselves different; we ‘do’ ourselves different. So to speak. We need to ‘action’ our way to internal transformation. This is why the theory of personal development is worthless until it becomes a practical reality. Until the concepts and ideas are turned into behaviors. Some people are theoretical geniuses but practical idiots. They talk a lot but do very little.
Change comes from doing which is why an article like this can be transformational or worthless – it all depends on you.
For the forty-five-year-old woman who runs a half-marathon for the first time in her life, the transformation will be more emotional and psychological (internal), than it will be physical (external). She finishes her event and without focusing on anything other than the physical process, she has gained more confidence, her standards and expectations have changed, she’s less fearful and she’s more excited about her future possibilities. Her new experience has created an internal shift.
The Ex-Scaredy Cat
Then there’s the insecure, fearful guy who runs into a burning house and saves a child. In an instant, his default setting is changed forever. He does something that he never thought was possible (for him) and with one brave, selfless action, many of his self-limiting beliefs are smashed. He is empowered. The world is the same but he is different. Therefore, his world is different.
There’s the self-proclaimed dummy who enrolls in university, does the work, develops the study-skills, learns the academic language, passes the exams, and gains the degree. She is forever changed. The ability was always there but the confidence wasn’t. Her self-limiting thinking and self-sabotaging behaviors become a thing of the past – as a byproduct of doing something she had never done.
There’s the woe-is-me guy who visits a third world country. He instantly realizes that his horrible life in Australia is actually fantastic. And that his lifestyle is actually one of privilege, not a disadvantage. He identifies that his self-pitying, negative attitude has always been his problem. Without even looking for it, his experience in another part of the world teaches him to acknowledge, value, and appreciate what he has (which is plenty). Nothing changes but everything changes.
The Business Woman
There’s the girl who sets up her own business. She doesn’t think about it, plan for it, or talk about it (anymore). No, she actually does it. In the first twelve months of owning her own business, she learns and grows more than she has in the last twelve years. The experience changes her.
While I am constantly reading and studying, the place I’ve always learned the most, had my biggest breakthroughs and experienced my biggest (internal) shifts was when I stepped out of my over-thinking mind and experienced new things.
If you’re like me (an experiential learner), then perhaps it’s time for you to experience something new? To do something you’ve never done. And no, it doesn’t need to be a major event so don’t talk yourself out of it before you even start. It might be something relatively minor like trying yoga, talking to a stranger, going for a jog, learning an instrument, doing some volunteer work, asking someone out for coffee, or even leaving a comment on this site.
Or, maybe you should think about it for a while longer?