“Everything you see happening is the consequence of that which you are.”

– Dr. David Hawkins, American philosopher and historian

Life has a way of sneaking up on a guy. One moment you’re a carefree kid and the next, well, you’ve become part of your environment, shaped by the pressures of reality. Those hopes and dreams of youth have all but faded from memory, leaving the slightest trace of regret.

Change tends to be a good thing and we often discover new ways to experience satisfaction no matter the circumstances. But wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to reach back in time and reclaim the excitement of your younger years? What if you could slow time’s relentless march and savor each passing moment? Or maybe you’d spend that time rebuilding the hope and compassion of an earlier time, before the hassles and worry of adulthood.

Whatever your goal, I believe it’s possible to throw off the chains of work and weariness. And more than just possible, I believe it’s doable. The key is to stop pushing and striving against the world and, instead, realize that change comes from the inside-out.

Your identity can be explained by evolution and cultural adaptation, but it is controlled by consciousness. By you. So if you want to turn back the clock and lay the groundwork for a better tomorrow, it’s time to take a closer look at the only thing you can really change: yourself.

Here is a six step method for transforming your life.

The 6 Keys to Personal Transformation

Step 1: Craft Your Vision

You are a conscious being trapped in a physical body. In order to create real and lasting change on the outside, you need to organize your internal world. This begins with a simple question: what do you want?

There is no shame in not knowing immediately. In fact, I ask myself this question almost every day and the answer seems to change constantly depending on my mood, environment, and recent experiences. However, over time, you can identify a theme and as you peer into those similar answers you will eventually discover a purpose.

By purpose, I mean a driving desires to change the world in a specific way. This generally falls into one of two categories . . .

  • Correction: you have experienced a grievous pain in the past and are now driven to protect others from the same fate.
  • Contribution: you have enjoyed a wonderful experience in the past and desire to share that same pleasure with the world.

The best way to discover what you want is to continually ask yourself questions. Rely on your new friends: what, why, how, when, where, and who. They will guide you through this process and eventually bring you to your true identity. After all, you were born to change the world, so stop saying “I can’t” and have a little faith!

Step 2: Increase Your Knowledge

Creating a vision for improving the world is just the first step. Next you’re going to need to develop the wisdom and skill to make your dreams come true. This begins with learning.

Let’s face it, most of us have been molded by the expectations of our peer group and work environment. We probably know a little bit too much about the NFL and Facebook, but our knowledge of influence and change is pitifully small.

This step requires some courage. It’s going to take time and humility to submit yourself to the rigors of self-education. You’ll need to read books, browse blog posts, dig through Wikipedia, and maybe even watch a documentary or two.

The good news is that once you get started, you’ll discover a burning passion that drives you forward. This is what you’ve always wanted and even if you can’t have it today, at least your one step closer to realizing your destiny.

Step 3: Be Open to Feedback

The real trick is to avoid overconfidence. I’d be lying if I told you I’ve never made this mistake or that you will somehow avoid it. However, you can minimize the risk of premature action if you remain humble and be willing to adapt.

Feedback is essential for progress. It’s nature’s way of letting us know when to turn and how fast to move. And I’m not just talking about what Uncle Bob decides to share with you over the Holidays. I’m saying you need to look at the results of your actions and ask: is what I’m doing working?

Track your progress. Measure something tangible. Find a way to wrap your head around the process. Otherwise, you’ll charge blindly into walls forever. And from personal experience, I can assure you that is both a painful and extremely slow way to proceed.

Step 4: Embrace the Culture

Once you gain knowledge of your chosen path and get a little experience walking that road, you might want to consider finding other warriors on a similar journey. The world is an awfully big place and, recently, it’s all been crammed into the space of your computer screen.

Take advantage of this amazing resource to find like-minded people. Share your vision, or at least your current step, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are you’ll make some friends and maybe even discover a mentor or two.

The best part about getting involved in an established culture, whether it’s a local group of people or an online platform like this blog, is the positive reinforcement you’ll receive. Psychologists say that we are the aggregate of the 5 people we spend the most time with. As you change your peer group, you’ll also change your influences. You’ve essentially created your own environment and taken control of your personal evolution. Say hello to natural, effortless personal transformation!

Step 5: Track Your Progress

Now that you’re equipped with the basic tools of self-growth, it’s time to see results. Break down your vision into milestones, goals, and steps.

Set small objectives that are easy to accomplish. Not only will this help you focus on the next and most important move, but it will reward you with a constant sense of accomplishment. We all know that progress equals excitement, so make sure to create a plan that keeps you energized and motivated to keep working!

Step 6: Keep Things in Perspective

You’ve become a true warrior. The world is in your hands and even though you’re training may span years, you’ve managed to recapture your dreams and turn them into something real and doable.

Sadly, most people stop here. I’ve done it too. We forget that life isn’t about accomplishment or glory. It’s about experience, about enjoying every moment in the most fulfilling way. No result or achievement can ever make up for a life wasted in work and worry.

Remember, life is a journey. It’s important to choose a worthwhile destination and take those first steps, but after that, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. After all, it’s all you get. Make it count!

Photo by josemanuelerre

Mark Swedberg

Mark Swedberg is one of those crazy lifestyle experimenters . . . you know, the kind of guy who runs split tests on his dinner date or randomly finds himself in the middle of a Federal sting operation. Keep track of his latest adventures on A Journey's Tale, or catch his experiments in real time on Facebook.

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