I was watching a movie the other day called, “Peaceful Warrior.” There’s a character in that movie called, “Socrates.” He’s a very wise and intelligent guy. One of the things he said really caught my attention. He said, “Death isn’t sad. The sad thing is: most people don’t live at all.”
Most people don’t live. It seems almost esoteric or new agey to say something like that. But deep inside, I know it’s really true. Most people’s lives flash before their eyes. They go day in and day out just going through the movements. They’re not really… living.
For most of my life, I kept a tragedy to myself. An event that I witnessed at a young age altered my thinking forever. It fueled the way I approach life. In recent years, I began sharing how death changed my life.
When I was a freshman in high school, I saw a good friend of mine die. Paul Kartlick was playing basketball in PE class one day and tripped. He hit his head on the outdoor concrete court and died on the spot. One moment we were playing basketball and the next moment he was gone. He was 14 years old.
Before going any further into this post, I want to clarify two things: 1) This is not a product or promotion I’m pushing that costs $16; 2) This is a very low point in my life that I haven’t shared with many people. Now, with full disclosure out of the way, I’ll tell you what the title is all about.
In the summer of 2008, I worked as a sales trainer for a small marketing firm in Nashville, TN. Although during my career there I would work in over 7 different campaigns, at the time I was selling and training salespeople for a retail promotion involving At&t’s home services inside their cellular stores. Do you remember going into an At&t store and someone coming up asking you about your home phone service? Could have been me or someone I trained.
All I could see was the blank page. I found myself staring at the journal that lay open on my lap. It was the third time in a week I’d made an attempt to start writing in my new journal and I was determined to begin with something other than ‘Dear Diary.’ Several minutes, one headache, and three aspirin later I closed the journal and decided I’d try again tomorrow when I was fresh.
The morning rolls around and I sit staring at that wretched blank page which just stares right back at me as if to say, “How many times are we going to go through this?” Finally I caved and I wrote, ‘Dear Diary,’ in black pen. Suddenly, the words that wouldn’t come flowed easily. I wrote for an hour. Who knew I had so much to say? I was fascinated.
How do you feel when you look at your life right now – how your day has been lived, the way you look, the things you’ve done and are doing, where you are, the people you’re around, the life you’ve laid, the thoughts that surround you?
If there are things you want to change in any part of your life there’s something you need to know.
And it’s not pretty: Change isn’t for everyone. Change isn’t easy.
Everywhere you look, in popular magazines and on media websites like the Huffington Post, there seem to be countless articles outlining the five or six essential steps to follow for some type of self-improvement. Americans are fixated on personal growth — becoming more effective in their professions, happier and more tranquil in their private lives, less depressed with higher self-esteem and a more satisfying sex life. The website on which you’re reading this post is devoted to promoting change. We all want to grow and change for the better.
In my experience, however, most people change very little over the course of their lives. They tend to become more the way they already are.