“We make the world we live in and shape our own environment,” said Dr. Orison Marden, back in 1897. Marden, the founder of Success magazine, was right, and his wisdom remains true today.
The life we lead is because of the choices we make. We select our friends. We decide how to spend our time. We choose how to take care of ourselves — or whether we do so at all. It’s also up to us to change if we aren’t happy with where we are in life.
New research from the University of Texas proves that we can change — at any age. This study examined strategies for helping teenagers develop the all-important resilience needed to succeed in life and to ward off anxiety and depression.
“At the beginning of the school year, students participated in a reading and writing exercise intended to instill a basic, almost banal message to help them manage tension: People can change,” writes Jan Hoffman in her article in The New York Times.
“The students who completed the exercise subsequently had lower levels of stress, reported more confidence in coping and achieved slightly higher grades at year’s end, compared to a control group.”
People can change.
Three simple — yet powerful — words that we must remember every day.
Knowing that our future is in our hands gives us the self-confidence to take personal responsibility for our lives — again, at any age and under any circumstances.
If science shows that young, awkward, and shy teenagers can change their attitudes and change their lives, then it means that we can too.
Here’s the problem. We get lazy and complacent as we get older. We are all tempted to resist change and remain in our comfort zones. But that is not where and how we grow, improve, and make the changes necessary to continue our personal evolution.
If you’re not happy with your place or relationships in life, you need to fix the situation. If we want our lives to change, we have to take personal responsibility for the world we create. As the new research shows, change starts with changing our mindset.
“Take responsibility for EVERYTHING in life,” said Grant Cardone in the latest issue of ETR’s Success Formula Newsletter. “When you give up responsibility, you give up control. Then you are just a victim. More people need to be willing to do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true.”
You can use the next step in ETR’s Habit Change System (below) to overcome any obstacle in the way in your life so that you can get more done, make more money, have a bigger impact on the world, and still get home on time for dinner.
You’ve already done the hardest part. In part 1 of this article, I gave you a Personal Introspection Checklist to finish – read it here if you missed it.
You did the difficult work of self-reflection, you set aside your ego, you realized where you’ve been going wrong, you asked the tough questions, and you identified ways to change your life for the better.
You accepted, like the teenagers in this new research study, that people can change.
The next stage makes gets you one giant step closer to making these habit changes easier to implement.
Step #2 – Identify the Steps to Change
In this phase you’re examine the results of your Introspection Checklist and then, like the students in the study described above, you’ll plan and prepare your way to success.
Take a look at the three lowest scores on your Introspection Checklist.
As a reminder, the 15-step checklist looked like this, and you were to rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in each area. A one means you are struggling, and a 10 means you are strong in this area.
11) Big Thinking
Please review the list, rank yourself, and then identify your worst performing area. Your worst performing area now becomes your number one priority to change.
Following the students lead, you’ll “instill a basic, almost banal message to help them manage tension: People can change.”
And that means you.
For example, let’s say that you ranked yourself lowest in the Sleep category.
Perhaps you ignore the advice in my 10-3-2-1-0 Formula. You check your email until 11pm at night and then find yourself tossing and turning until after midnight, only to wake-up, exhausted, at 6am when your alarm goes off. You hit the snooze button three times and find yourself running fifteen minutes behind.
I know the feeling. I was once just like you.
But in 2007, knowing that people can change, I started implementing better sleep habits. I read books instead of emails before bed. I moved my alarm across the room so it meant having to get up and move my body – providing a natural waking stimulus – so that I wouldn’t hit the snooze button and fall back asleep.
Soon I was sleeping deeper and easier, waking up well rested, and having all-day energy without the need for caffeine.
You can improve your sleep score the same way I did.
Likewise, you can use similar systems of self-improvement to improve your score in any area of the Introspection Checklist.
Let’s look at one more example. Let’s say your lowest score is in the Skills category. Perhaps you want to become a better public speaker but you struggle with planning, preparation, and courage.
As someone who’s been there, and who has also been able to improve dramatically, let me tell you two things:
1) Everything is a learnable skill.
2) People can change.
One of my mentors, Dan Kennedy, started his speaking career as a gangly, pimple-faced young man with a stuttering problem. But he studied the masters, he threw himself into the fire and began speaking in small groups in living rooms (as an Amway salesman), and progressed in both audience size and skill level.
He became introspective, reviewing his work, getting feedback from mentors, and improved his craft speech after speech.
Over the past 40 years Kennedy has delivered thousands of presentations and made millions of dollars from speaking. You can read about his journey in his new book, Speak to Sell.
He is another one of the countless examples of the most important message I’ll leave you with today.
People can change.
So start now.
Go through the checklist.
“Begin at once a program of self-mastery,” Epictetus said over 2000 years ago.
Because even then it was known that…
People can change.
And if you’re reading this, that means you.