Real change is when, after you spend your first 30 years of your life on the couch, watching movies and eating junk food, you start paying attention to your habits and end up running marathons.
Real change is when, after being shy and introverted in your childhood, high school, and college years, you start speaking in front of crowds of hundreds.
Real change is when, after not having your emotional needs fulfilled as a child, you learn how to communicate how you feel and can provide others the emotional support you didn’t have.
But all these obvious transformations are seen only in the last part of the change, when the progress becomes noticeable.
Real change is hard and is hard to notice it.
Imagine painting a masterpiece and it takes you 100 hours to finish. Anyone who’s looking at what you’re doing, may notice you’re painting a masterpiece only after the first 90 hours. Even you, the artist, may struggle to recognize the value of the masterpiece in the first few hours of your work.
But real change is… real. Simply because it is hard to notice, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Real change exists in the subtle details of the transformation process and as long as you’re paying attention to these subtle details, you’ll be able to internalize the change you’re going through and have a real change.
Hidden changes are tricky
There are two types of changes: personal and environmental. These two types encompass all the changes that you may think of.
Personal changes are about your career, yourself, your relationships, your business, and your body. Anything that has to do with you.
Environmental changes are about your country, geo-political changes, and natural disasters. Anything that has to do with things outside your personal space, that you can’t control.
But whether we’re talking about personal or environmental changes (and with this article I’d like to focus on personal changes), there’s a 3rd type of change that appears in any of these first two categories: hidden changes.
Hidden changes are tricky.
They can influence something inside the bigger spectrum of your life while you’re working on something specific. For example, your career can be influenced while you’re cooking dinner for a friend and your friend brings with them unexpectedly another friend who is the HR manager of your dream company.
On the other hand, since it’s in their name, hidden changes are difficult to spot. It happens when you decide to go to the gym and you only notice some changes after 3 months of going to the gym 3-4 times/week.
Did you know that optimistic athletes can endure exercise 12% longer?
The hidden details and how they influence real change
Real change starts in discomfort, is never easy, creates discomfort and doubt, and leads to uncertainty.
When it comes to real change, unless we’re talking about body transformation, none of these things are noticeable to your eyes. You won’t be able to see discomfort, doubt, or uncertainty.
These are the hidden details that are part of any real change.
If you feel too comfortable with what you’re doing, it may not change you.
If there’s no doubt or uncertainty, there may be too much clarity, which can be traced back to your comfort zone.
All these are hidden from the physical world. You can’t see or touch them. But you can feel them.
Paying attention to how you feel and understanding it can add amazing value to your progress.
“Don’t blame the clown for acting like a clown. Ask yourself why you keep going to the circus.”
The things we do, over and over again (even though they may not be healthy for us), can be corrected if we pay attention to how we feel.
If you keep eating junk food, it would be odd to expect the food to not be junky anymore.
If you keep speaking with people who hurt you, it would be odd to expect these people to not hurt you anymore.
The clown will keep acting like a clown. The question is, why do you still go there? Why do you need constant reminders that a clown is just a clown?
And finally, how do you feel about these constant reminders?
How fast do you think you can notice your changes?
Imagine you are walking down the street and, instead of going forward, you suddenly decide to turn left.
That sudden left turn is not possible when it comes to real-life changes because real change takes time.
Let’s say that your life goal, metaphorically speaking, is turning left. And for that purpose, imagine that your one-day progress looks like a slightly curved stick. Here’s how your progress looks after the first 10 days, one month, three months, and one year.
After the first 10 days, the change isn’t really noticeable as the left turn is still close to the straight path. You get to notice the change after the 1st month and be aware of it after the first three months.
But this is just a metaphor with a visual representation so you can understand real change a bit better.
When it comes to your actual progress and change, you should consider that:
- you may not always have the time and energy for what you set yourself to do;
- you may be distracted and for a few days, weeks, or months you may focus on something else that has nothing to do with the initial change you were looking for;
- the measurement I used for the visual representation is going to be different from the real-life measurement – after three months you may only notice a change as little as the slightly left turn from “after 10 days” from my visual representation.
But change is there and it happens. You’re changing and there’s no denying that.
The question is not “Does change happen?” but “For how long am I willing to keep doing what I set myself to do before I notice change?”
Strong people don’t need their change to be recognized. Don’t act like a strong person
I see this all the time.
People believe they are strong if they keep whatever progress they make to themselves. That’s not strength but fear.
You are afraid people will judge you or be envious of your progress. Well, that’s perfect!
If you share your progress with someone you consider close and they don’t want to celebrate your progress with you, maybe you should reconsider the relationship.
I believe it’s absolutely necessary to share your progress with someone else, especially if that person can act as a mirror and reflect back to you what you’re sharing. It will generate awareness of your efforts and help you better understand how you feel about your progress.
Also, looking for having your change recognized can be seen as an insight into how well you recognize your change.
If you’re not aware of the change you’re going through, it will be difficult for you to share it with others and have your change recognized by them.
With love and optimism,
What did you learn?
What are some valuable things you learned about change? How difficult is it to notice real change?
I would love to know what you think, so share your insights with me using the form below.