Malleable Mind: Changing Who You Are

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If you are unhappy with something in your life…

If you are not where you should be…

I have good news for you.

Nearly everything about a human being is malleable.

It’s the reason we can thrive in various environments, learn complicated tasks, and manipulate objects so fluidly, as if they are a part of us.

Your intelligence, your physical state, your mannerisms and habits. Your lifestyle, and even the way you perceive things can be changed.

These things are malleable, however change takes time.

The older you are, the more certain it is that you are already set in your ways.

Change will be more difficult than it would be for someone who is just starting out on their life journey.

To create changes, you must first understand the patterns.

Your patterns are not like dough, they are developed over repetition, and reinforced every time.

It would be closer to carving wood, or if you have been doing something for years, like chipping away at stone.

They will give way with persistence…

…however it will take time and effort.

Not a huge effort in a short burst of time, but a low, slow, and steady effort over time. This will allow you to make course corrections as needed and avoid burnout.

If you exert a huge, almost superhuman effort, and see no results, you will get discouraged. A low and steady effort is less volatile. It’s easier to maintain, and doesn’t take energy away from doing other things.

Now result are what we want, so make sure you are not just spinning your wheels, however, at the same time, be realistic. Shortcuts are a scam.

“If it was easy everybody would do it!” -Will Smith

Anything good takes time and effort. High performers regularly downplay the effort it takes, on a daily basis for a long time to achieve what they have.

They are either being modest, or they are playing a game with you.

To select which behaviors to keep in your life and which ones to reduce or eliminate, a journal is a great tool.

Understanding the cause and effect of certain habits by journaling will help you review objectively the direct results of actions in the short and long term.

It’s like an ongoing science experiment, where the goal is betterment of your life.

Now, in order to be as objective as possible, it is important to clear your head.

If you are not deciding which material to allow into your brain, someone else it. So choose a low information diet for a while.

This doesn’t mean you have to boycott everything and live in a shack in the mountains (I’m quite fond of the idea), just be aware of the message you are being given and be mindful.

Choose to accept it or not.

The various marketing departments are extremely clever in this regard.

They spend all day and night designing subtle ways to slip their message into everything.

Why?  Because their paycheck depends on it. Which means their source of food depends on it. I know I would do a great job with that kind of motivation.

Now that you’ve decided to become whatever it is you want to be….

There are two tricks that make lifestyle change much easier.

The first one is: Physical Relocation

There has been a certain time frame that has revealed itself to me, where change is easier, and will stick with you:

Moving.

Moving to a new living space, new city, or new country.

A new apartment is fairly influential.

A new city is huge.

A new country is life-changing.

This is a limited window for change, and you must capitalize on the opportunity, and create forward momentum.

I will call this the: “Window of Malleability”

For a new apartment, I would say you have two weeks to implement the new habits you want, set up the routines and life, before you are once again settled in and comfortable.

A new city would take closer to two months. You have to explore the local area, and get a feel for the community. Figure you where to spend your working time and leisure time. Determine which activities will become routine.

For a new country, especially if you do not speak the language, this period lasts up to two years. As you develop into the culture, and figure out how to function, adapt to the customs, learn to thrive, there is large window of malleability.

As your brain makes connection patterns in the new place, certain stimuli trigger certain responses, and like a young child, you learn very quickly.

This is the time to implement changes, and tweak your lifestyle. Like adjusting an old school radio to get a clear signal, dial in your life for optimum performance and trajectory towards your goal.

Notice I said goal, not goals.

I believe working on one very specific goal is the only way to accomplish anything.

Fighting battles to make progress on multiple fronts has never worked for me and is exhausting. I prefer a laser-like focus, on one item, until I get to where I need to be.

So, what if I like where I live/Cannot financially move/Not willing to move?

Well, the second trick is: Using strong emotion as fuel

Regret, anger, happiness, success high, really any strong emotion can be used as fuel to propel you to a higher level of success, discipline, whatever you choose.

Take advantage of the momentum.

If it’s a positive emotion, tell yourself: “I’m on a roll. I feel great. I’ll succeed in the next goal as well.”

If it’s a negative emotion, say: “Never again. I won’t repeat the same mistake twice, I will correct my course, and continue on.”

Harness that energy to create change.

Create one small, almost effortless change.

Then another.

And another.

Until there is a snowball effect of many different changes coming into place, and one day you wake up, and you have changed your life.

That’s all there is to it. Decide which information to allow into your mind. Objectively review the effects of your habits. Use relocation or strong emotion to create lasting change.

All the Best.

-A