Gnothi seauton, said Socrates. “Know thyself.”
These words remain as true today as in the days when the portly philosopher in his rumpled tunic sauntered through the dusty agora of ancient Athens and pondered aloud about the riddles of the human experience.
“What is man?” he asked. “What can he become?”
This is a fascinating question. Once we set out to know ourselves, we also pave the way to become more authentic and powerful in our lives.
While we may appear predisposed, due to genetics or environmental factors, to certain character traits, we are, as far as I can tell, creatures of infinite possibilities and amazing self-invention.
Who we are, then, has less to do with knowledge and more to do with imagination. We appear to be who we choose to be rather than merely the consequences of our experiences.
However, this elasticity of possibility, is seldom exercised, for rather than explore, we prefer to be safe, and rather than risk, we would rather remain restricted in our self-expression. We prefer homeostasis to adventure.
Still, when we hear or read about someone who has changed in a remarkable way, we feel a curious envy and joy, a sense of what may be possible for us were we to shift away from our stable moorings. In fact, the books or movies that move us the most are those where the main characters undergo transformation from a lower to a higher state of being.
We admire change, but don’t feel sure about it– which, of course, is understandable, because change, after all, is based on uncertainty.
Change awaits us all…but will it be positive or negative?
If the change is reflexive, as a response to circumstances, the change may not be positive. On the other hand, if the change is reflective, as a response to a stimulating thought, we feel the thrill of embarking upon a whole new realm of experiences. Our potentialities cry to be awoken and brought into the light of manifestation and actuality.
Since change is inevitable, then, we may as well embrace it by making it deliberate. In fact, we can expand our possibility thinking and accelerate positive change in our lives by using two cognitive tools.
The first tool is Critical Shift Thinking. By making small changes, we can precipitate big effects. For example, by changing how we eat, or exercise, or organize our finances, or relate to people, we can invite a massive personal transformation over time.
The second tool is Influential Thinking. While we’re all aware of how other people can and do affect us, we seldom pay attention to how we can enrich ourselves through choice books, music, and other educational and inspirational media.
When we spend time to get to know ourselves better, when we ponder on who we are and what we can become, and when we sketch a bolder picture of what is possible for us, we begin the process of motivation and invite positive change in our lives. How much change, of course, depends on our level of purpose, passion, and persistence.
Saleem Rana got his masters in psychotherapy from California Lutheran University. His articles on the internet have inspired over ten thousand people from around the world. Discover how to create a remarkable life. Free information.
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