Archive for June 28th, 2011

Growth Means Change

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Although I’ve been busy I’m still trying to find time to move forward in the book I’ve been reading. “The Shack” has grabbed my interest and held my attention through every word so far. One thing that I like about the book is how each chapter begins. They all begin with a quote after the name of the chapter. It’s unique and I like the meaning behind it. For some reason I can easily relate to many of the quotes.

Chapter 8 begins with a quote from an unknown author. It says, “Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.”

That quote struck a chord quite close to home when I sat down and digested it. At first I thought it was kind of cool, but the longer I sat there and thought about it I quickly saw how true it really is.

Sometimes things happen to us that we don’t have any control over. In order to grow from these things we have to change. The change could include anything from our living arrangements, to a great loss or just changing how we think.

I’ve always been somewhat stubborn when it comes to things that I believe in. There have been many times in the past when I knew that I needed to make changes in my life, but I was hesitant to address those issues. I was too comfortable with everything, even if many of the things were negatively impacting the quality of my life. I never wanted to take any risks. I always feared the worse. If I did something to benefit my life I always figured it would backfire in my face. That’s what made me keep plodding along on the smooth paved highway. I never wanted to get off an exit and take an adventure along an unknown road. Comfort and familiarity often keep us on the same road. It very well could be the road to nowhere, but our fear paralyzes us into thinking that we won’t be able to handle any change in our current position, let alone a major change.

Personal growth requires many things in different areas. We need to surround ourselves with positive people who have dreams, aspirations, hope and drive to reach their goals. If you find yourself around people unlike yourself in those areas you will most likely fall into the trap of following their lead. The life will get sucked out of you and every day becomes one of comfort and security. However, if a few risks were taken from time to time you might find yourself chasing dreams that you thought were unattainable at one time. In order to do this you need a lot of support from your circle of friends, your family and your partner if you have one.

Many partners drive the other to succeed. Their support feeds each other. They’re there to celebrate the small victories and to help you when you encounter bumps in the road on your journey. No matter what you do, they show their pride, which motivates you to succeed.

I’ve seen this time and time again from my parents. I mean really…what better role models could I possibly have? My parents have been on vacation in Houston, Texas for the last week. Since my mom was stricken with the viral brain infection a year and a half ago they haven’t been able to do much away from home. I’ve seen many days where other people would have given up, but my mom smiles, stays optimistic and keeps striving to get better. I can’t imagine being 63 years old and having to start all over again. She might walk sideways, have a hard time while learning how to read again, but she never quits. In the process of all of that she also always looks out for her family first. She’s in Houston this week cheering my father on at the Senior Olympics. That support and positive feedback surely drives my dad to succeed. It brings him to another level even if he doesn’t know it.

Yesterday was my father’s birthday. I had such a miserable day that I got so involved in something going on, that by the time I realized I needed to call him, it was what I thought, was too late. I felt like a bad son, especially after everything he has done for me. Then, when I called today he played it off like he didn’t know yesterday was his birthday just to make me feel better. I’m a grown adult, I’m not that stupid. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things I’ll have to live with now.

I spoke with one of my friends today about this topic. I found it ironic how I had already written most of this but had to save it as a draft. My friend told me how it’s “necessary” to keep the walls up and not let anyone inside. It’s a defense mechanism that has worked from day one and offers protection. I personally disagree. I think that so called defense mechanism actually weakens you and prohibits your growth. Sometimes if we let our walls down a new way of looking at life gently finds us. People sometimes become so afraid of letting others in because they’re afraid of what “might” happen. The future is the future and we can’t predict it. There’s no sense in worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. If we do our part everything will work out as planned.

However, if we leave the walls up that’s what we will find in the people that come into our lives. If your walls don’t come down, their walls will remain as well, or your inability to open up will steer them away from you.  There’s no room for growth with that huge obstacle in the way. The wall stunts everyone’s growth which is a real shame.

Everyone gets hurt. We all experience loss, failure and emptiness because of our decisions. There’s nobody out there who doesn’t encounter these things. We can’t base the future on the past. We have to accept the present for what it is and just take one step at a time.

Yes, change does involve risk. If you’re not willing to take the risk, you certainly don’t deserve to be rewarded with the wonderful things that the change will bring to you. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that the scenery is much better when you push the wall over than it is if you peek around or through the wall that you refuse to let fall.

Life is all what we make of it. I’ve seen the good as well as the bad. I’ve finally realized that I’m willing to take calculated risks. If I see something that is worth taking a chance to help me grow, I will slowly act on it. I might move at a snail’s pace, but I will take the risk in hopes that I will be rewarded with the change. As my friend says, “Peace out.” Without risk there’s no reward. Take  a chance and you might just be surprised what you find on the other side.