Have you ever tried to make changes in your life? Personal change is a really hard thing to do! It’s also something that a lot of people want to do. The multibillion-dollar self-help industry is a clear testament to that, and a constellation of self-help gurus and systems and techniques exists for every aspect of whatever you might want to change about yourself.
However, real lasting change seems to elude most of us. Our attempts to change some aspect of ourselves are often characterized by feelings of confusion, anxiety, and frustration as we attempt to discover the best way to go about changing ourselves, stressful struggle against tendencies that feel engrained and immovable, and finally, disappointment as dashed hopes inevitably lead to self-judgement and negativity of all kinds.
It’s easy to feel as though our results are paltry and our changes ephemeral. Even when some ground is attained, a sense of stress still persists as we contort ourselves into our new schedule, our new diet, or whatever else we’re working on. We force ourselves into our new disciplines, hoping that that unpleasant feeling like wearing ill-fitting shoes gives way to the natural ease of long-time habit.
Except it never really does, and eventually old habits return. Repeat this enough times and you’ll develop brand-new problems you’ll need to fix! Constantly animating this behavior is not a recipe for sanity, and often leads to a sense of burnout. Any real gains that are made are harder to maintain. Sure, new habits can be formed around those changes, but doing so is harder and drier then it needs to be.
So what’s the secret? Most of us tend to have exactly the wrong idea about how to tackle personal change. We think that the way to change ourselves is by finding and applying solutions to our problems. Turns out, the reverse is true.
The secret to real and lasting and profound change isn’t to struggle with what you’re changing from, but to let yourself be attracted by what you’re changing into. Stop struggling against all the qualities you’re trying to change. instead, start fallling in love with what you’re changing into, and don’t worry about the results of your action.
The quality of result that this approach generates is fundamentally different, and it’s easy to see why this is so. Imagine being away from the person most beloved to you. What wouldn’t you do to be with them if you haven’t seen them for a while? When we are in love with something or somebody, we are always willing to suffer in the course of reuniting with them. The funny part about this willingness to suffer is that we don’t even notice when we became willing – It just happened.
The principles of attraction and non-attachment are effective and applicable in every aspect of our lives, from the banal and conventional, all the way to the most esoteric and transformative aspects of self-discovery. These principles can always be applied effectively to any context if one is creative and tries their best.
When applied to self-discovery and personal transformation, the principles of attraction and non-attachment are extremely effective and act as the spark and the fuel that light the flame of rapid transformation. A self-discovery practice grounded in discipline and focus can certainly take us far, but won’t take us all the way; love is that critical ingredient that enables us to stay distracted while while we deal with the more painful stuff.
Next time you resolve to change something in your life, don’t stress, just do what the principles of attraction and non-attachment tell you to do: forget about your problems, leave your worries behind, and stop stressing about your future.