- May 5, 2020
In my mind, you always have the opportunity to start over and reinvent yourself. Always. I look at Mondays as a chance to reinvent yourself for the week. I look at the actual day of Monday as an opportunity to reinvent yourself for the day. If you decide to change your life and take actions to do it, there has to be a day or a moment where you first made that decision. Maybe you don’t state it explicitly, but at the beginning of everyone’s new journey comes that point.
And it can always happen. Regardless of how many times you’ve tried and failed before, you can wipe the slate clean. But how do you do it? Short answer – gradually over a long period of time. But the mindset behind making the change involves understanding that your life is a series of moments and you get to decide how to act in each of those moments. Add those moments up and that’s your life.
On the one hand, your life is cumulative because the collection of decisions you make lead to the point you’re currently at. But life is only cumulative in that sense. It’s not cumulative in the sense that the collection of decisions can’t be fixed or outweighed by a smaller set of decisions. You can take a hundred losses, but only need a few wins to turn your life around. You could live years of your life doing the wrong things, working the wrong job, following the wrong path, making the wrong decisions, and then start doing things right for a day, a week, a couple of months, that all the sudden puts you on a better path.
That’s what happened to me. Sure, it took five years for me to achieve some of my long-term goals, but my mindset shifted, permanently, years back. And before I made that mental shift, found and committed to self-improvement, and started writing, I’d made damn near every mistake in the book — dropped out of college, got arrested, did all sorts of drugs and drank daily, got in fists fights, you name it. I could’ve looked at my identity as cumulative — since I’d done all of that bad stuff, I could’ve looked at myself as a bad person. Since I spent years of my life acting like I loser, I could’ve concluded that I was a loser.
This is what happens to people. This is why it’s so hard to wipe the slate clean.
You look at your past and the mistakes you’ve made as parts of your identity. You start to tell yourself stories – “This is the way I am.” Well, when changing your life means losing your sense of self, change is difficult.
But let me ask you this…if your old self isn’t serving you, why keep it? Just like we hold onto relationships with toxic people for too long just because we’ve known them for a long time, we hold onto our ‘old selves’ for the same exact reason. This is the ‘sunk cost’ fallacy. You think that just because you’ve invested time into something you have to keep doing it to justify the original investment. You don’t. Whatever investment you made has been made and what’s done is done.
What’s done is done. So true. Yet so hard to accept.
But that’s where change comes from — acceptance.
I’ve done the mental dance you’ve done with your past. I still do it. You replay your past and try to tweak the variables. You wonder what your life could’ve been like if you could just go back in time and change a decision or two. If you don’t like your present, sometimes you wish you weren’t there, but you have to be there.
You have to be you.
As soon as you can finally fully admit to yourself, “Ok, this is where I’m at” you’re ready.
Then you can become a brand new person. Totally different. Don’t try to look too far into your future and see this ‘new you’ yet because your vision is too blurry at this point.
Just know that regardless of what has transpired in your life so far, what happens next is much more under your control than you think.