“Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something much better: that we can become oak trees.” - E.F. Schumacher
Change is addictive; it’s such an adrenalin rush to go from one training program to another as we continuously search for more meaning, more money, more knowledge. In fact it could be just about more of anything… we’re all addicted to the idea that if we just do this, we could be, do or have, well, more.
And at a deeper level, we’re also fueled by the connection between growth and identity. If I can be, do or have more, then I will be better than everyone else, which will also mean that I might then be worthy enough to have earned your respect, your admiration, and maybe even, your love.
While everyone, including myself, can fall prey to the continuous search for growth, I find that changemakers especially are particularly susceptible to losing themselves in the never ending search for the next big transformation. There is always something new to learn, always a new book to read, a seminar to attend, or a certification to aspire to… and if I could just do this… then I would be successful.
Of course, this doesn’t always occur to us. We resonate with others who we meet in workshops, we commend them, they are good people because they are on a learning journey, we are good too, because we are on the journey with them.
And for the people on the stage, we admire them, we say, because they are successful. We want what we think they have, and we fail to pause and consciously, with all of our awareness, define for ourselves what success means to us.
And the truth is, that most of the products and programs we invest in, don’t give us the changes we want or hope for. And when this happens, it’s too easy to blame ourselves, to think it must be us, we must be the reason why our latest program didn’t work. Perhaps, we think we don’t have what it takes. We become our own problem. And in some ways we’re right. We are getting in our own way, and searching in the wrong places for the solutions. We have stopped listening to what lies within because we think the answer lies on the outside, that someone else has the answer to our problems, they have the recipe for success, and we lose ourselves in the process.
I would bet that you have at some time in your life, and maybe still to this day, you have been pulled into the seductive lure of losing yourself in a constant search for something better, for your life, your career or your business. This longing, this forever chasing bigger goals is just a way of disappearing, of not taking responsibility, of not listening to the voice of the sacred that lies deep within.
But, but, but… there is a power in self-improvement, isn’t there? Aren’t I supposed to be on a learning journey, to keep growing and improving for the rest of my days? And yes, there is virtue and audacity in dreaming of new ways to live our lives, of innovating and creating the new, of continuously learning - that’s not the problem.
The problem lies within. It’s true, we should never stop learning, or lose our audacious dreams, but if we lose ourselves in the process, that serves no-one. And if we’re continuously looking outside of ourselves for answers, we never take the time to honor the greatness that lies within.
- When I feel the pull to learn something new, I:
a) experience an adrenalin rush
b) feel virtuous and better than others who are not learning as much
c) expect that people will respect me more
d) feel affirmation from the learning
e) exhaust myself
- What is driving your need to learn - is it love or fear? If you didn’t keep searching, what would happen?
- What is the cost of keep looking outside of yourself for the answers? What would happen if you stopped?
- How much have you already invested in yourself up to this point? What is your definition of enough? How will you know when you have reached that point?
- Take a deep breath and pause for just a moment. Place your attention inside, deep within your belly, to the seat of your soul. What wants to emerge from deep within you, what wants to happen now?
Most changes fail. What help us to keep going when the going gets tough?