Can People Really Change?

Yes. I believe people can change, that it is possible for anyone to create positive change.

Then how come people seem to be unable to do so?
Even when they know for sure they want positive change…
Be it personal finance, health, relationship, or life-in-general…

I will take a crack at the answers, and I hope you are ready to read with an open mind.

Wrong Expectation

When people talk about change, they often mean that they want change without effort. They want magic pills. Everything people do, everything people want, is a matter of instant gratification. People are high on the instant gratification drug. They want something and they want it NOW. Simultaneously, they want results but they do not want to pay the price.

Obviously, they could not be more wrong, if they truly want permanent positive change. That is why you and I keep hearing people keep talking or thinking about changing this and that but never see any results. Or they tried this and that but nothing worked. Perhaps you are one of them. How can one expect to change with such expectation?

Change is difficult. Change is never easy. And nobody wants to hear that. Change involves being uncomfortable. That is why the phrase “go out of your comfort zone” exists.

The Curse of Habits

The ways one person acts and thinks are habits. Creating positive change means substituting bad habits with new ones. Old habits require discipline to get rid of. New habits require discipline to adopt. The longer you have maintained an old habit, the longer it takes you to learn and adopt a new behavior as a habit. This is the nature of habit. This is the reason why it becomes harder to change the older one is. And yes, it is possible to change even if you are mega-old.

To create permanent positive change is a constant struggle of changing habits. And it WILL take time and patience.

Doing Differently Feels “Wrong”

Change means doing differently, and doing differently is awkward. To change means having lots of awkward moments because things you have never done before naturally feels wrong (and uncomfortable) when you first try it. People are not ready to do “wrong” and be uncomfortable.

One of my favorate quote from the movie 40 year old virgin:

Andy: This doesn’t feel right.
Jay: Of course it don’t feel right! What has felt right for you doesn’t work! You need to try some wrong, dawg.

The Intractable Ego

People is obsessed and in love with being right. They will do whatever it takes to defend what they think is right. Everything else is wrong. When you let your ego dictate you like that, you will be intractable. If your ego is too strong to bend, then it is unfortunate because part of changing means admitting what you think is right is in fact wrong.

Not a fan of finding faults within yourself? Then ask yourself the question, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be better?” What is your answer?

Options and Backdoors

People make it an option to change. I am not saying you must change. If you are happy the way you are, that is wonderful and I am happy for you. However, if you want to change, you must make the choice to change and not let it just be an option. You cannot leave yourself with backdoors to back out. You must finish what you started.

And you must not dissuade yourself with crappy excuses such as “Yes, but…”, “I am too busy” because whenever I hear people say those, it means they are not ready to do what it takes to change.

Loneliness

Believe it or not, when you start to change your behaviors, you make others uncomfortable. Not only that, you may find yourself having difficulty to communicate to others and to have others understand you. This turns into a certain degree of loneliness each person who is changing must face. And it is possible that you may have to find a whole new set of friends.

Additionally, if you are striving to do something extraordinary, it is certain that you will face discouragement and isolation from people you know. Because not everyone has the same goal and perception to be extraordinary, or as I would call it — greatness. So really, not everyone, not many will understand you.

If you want to change, ask yourself the following questions…
Am I ready to get uncomfortable?
Am I ready to struggle constantly?
Am I ready to do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?
Am I ready to be wrong?
Am I ready to go from the starting line to the finishing line without giving up?
Am I ready to be different from your peers, friends, and family?

Lastly, I think it boils down to the next few questions…
Do I want to be better?
Do I want it bad enough?
Am I ready to do whatever it takes?

Originally posted 2008-05-09 17:26:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Discover Your Limit

Have you ever wonder what your limits are? Physically? Mentally? Skill-wise?

Today I did leg-press at 235 lbs. More than I have ever done. Rar! More than I could barely do last week, which was 190 lb. Our body is truly an interesting and amazing piece of machinery.

By the way, some of you may think that is nothing… it maybe so, but keep in mind I weigh a little under 130 lb.

I mentioned the difference of 45 lbs in my ability to do leg press within a week’s period. Surely, my body hasn’t changed so drastically in a week’s time, and thus reveals how our mentality, attitude affects what we can do. This is the most amazing part about weight training. You start to discover what your body can do, what you are truly thinking, and what you, as a whole being, can do.

The process of weight training, not simply for health reasons, allows me to learn more about myself than ever. Of course it is a physical activity, but simultaneously, there is an internal aspect of it where you must be aware of your body (posture, breathing, [which] muscle tension), and also pay attention how your mind affects you during your routine.

Now the most interesting part…

At the point of exhaustion while moving some massive weights, when I feel that I am exhausted, the questions comes in… Is it truly physically impossible for me to move? Or is it that I am my mind affects me, or letting my mind acquit myself with excuses, and that if someone points a gun at me to move it, and will shoot me otherwise, I will muster up the strength to move agian? Which one is it? I need to be truly honest with myself. Can I move just once more to discover my limit? To overcome my limit? Despite the doubts. Despite the pain. Just to discover my own limit. And probably help myself grow.

This is the fun part to training. The process of growing and learning about yourself. I will be honest, that if it is only for the health aspect of it, I probably would not put myself in such god awful discomfort continuously. I will also be honest that, proper weight training WILL give you a better looking body :P

This idea of training is not only true for weight training. It is the same in just about any form of trainig… for physical activities and for art. You have to ask yourself and be fully honest, am I really reaching my limit? And if not, am I finding excuses? What is holding me back? How can I move beyond?

Originally posted 2009-02-16 22:23:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Size Does Not Matter

One thing I notice in Japan was smallness. No, I am not insulting their people. No, I am not insulting their men, either. Actually, many girls there are very cute… uh, yeah, getting off track.

I should say — large space does not matter.

Take a look at this picture.
IMG_3492

It is a picture of my hotel room in Kyoto. There is barely space between the bed and table for my butt. It reminds me much about the living space from my past years in Hong Kong.

But, I am not complaining.

The common sense we have is — “Oh, we got so many things, we need more space”

In a way, our desire for space is directly related to our desire for things. Conversely, when we get more space in the house, we often want to fill that space with more things. Oh, what a dilemma.

Perhaps, we can consider the following chain of thought — “Oh, we got so many things, perhaps we need to make space by getting rid of things, that we don’t need, or use.”

Personally, I loooooove having space, and also cleanliness. They are very soothing.

Let’s face it, most of our stuffs end up sitting around collecting dusts. Instead, why don’t we carefully consider what we reeeeeeeeeally need, and if we are getting something, make sure it is something we will use frequently?

Oh, I am such a genius. Just kidding.

Another thing that is small is the portion of a meal. Each dish and even hamburgers from McDonald’s are smaller, which sucks for me because I am constantly hungry from my intense gym’ing. But for most Americans, who sit most days in office and sit some more in front of TV at home, can be a great idea.

That leads me to my final thoughts.

Perhaps we can use more limits. Yes, you heard me, limits, instead of more freedom.

Perhaps too much freedom had lead us to lots of indulgence, and indulgence is a result of not being clear about what is truly important. More limits in our environments force us to value what we have and cherish the resources that are available.

In other words, physical limits can be a great catalyst for internal growth.

Using the living space as an example, if you have so few square feets, there are only so many things you can have. And what you have will be what you need or truly find important.

Or if parking size is like this, you think twice before getting an SUV!
IMG_4481

Ok, the car example is not very good. The living situation is too different. But about driving in Japan, most people from America probably can’t drive in Japan, uh, due to poor driving skills. I personally DON’T want to drive there.

Anyways, I want to say this…

Evolving the idea on limit. Next time when we are frustrated and want to complain, or feel like we are suffering immensely, or seem to have insatiable desires for other things, consider that, there will forever be somebody somewhere else who are a lot worse off than we are.

IMG_3257Maybe things could be better, but they can be a lot worse. Look at this picture featuring the tight quarters in Tokyo Metro’s human sardines.

I guess that is why seeing the world, experiencing different things, how people live differently, are so important. So we realize how things can be worse.

On this note, I attribute my non-narrow perspective and sometimes unique and bizarre mentality to my fortunate experience (well, also unfortunate because it sucked big times sometimes) of having moved and lived in drastically different places at an age (12) that I could make my own perception already. However, I give myself credits for choosing to look at both sides of things rather than seeing only the green on the other side.

Last thing, totally unrelated, is a picture near the famous cross section in Shibuya, Tokyo by Center Gai (センター街). Pretty, eh? (It was shot in Lost in Translation too — one of my favorite movies)
IMG_3251

Originally posted 2009-07-17 01:06:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

California 10% Increase Tax Withholding is Borrowing from Tomorrow

It is no news that California government is taking a chunk of our paychecks now only to pay us back later, hopefully not with IOUs. Besides the general emotional response, beyond the effect it may have on our budgets, this is a general trend we can see of our society.

We keep on borrowing from tomorrow.
From individuals to local government to the national level.

Correspondingly…
From moving debt from one credit line to the next.
To taking tax revenue that really does not really exist.
To taking on great deal of national debt to “stimulate” economy. (Social Security aside…)

And most cases, if it is not that we don’t try to pay it back, it is that we have spent/run out of resources to pay it back. But in the end, the debt will always catch up and bite us in the ass. Somehow, eventually.

Borrowing from time, borrowing from tomorrow will never work. It will never solve anything.

When will we learn?

Originally posted 2009-11-12 22:29:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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