I’ve never been afraid of change; I like the feeling of moving forward. Also, I enjoy being uncomfortable. Well, O.K., you’ll never catch me camping or pushing my physical limits in an Ironman, but creatively, intellectually, and emotionally I like to be challenged.
With that character trait, I approach problems proactively. Where I see something not working as well as it could – in my business, writing, a relationship, dance, or teaching – I experiment to see what kind of improvement can be made. I take action. “Nothing changes if nothing changes” is a favourite saying of mine.
So it was a tough day, the day I realized that no matter what I tried, the things that didn’t feel good in my life weren’t changing. In fact, I had to admit they seemed to keep repeating despite my proactive problem solving.
After many years, I was still attracting work I didn’t enjoy. Long-term client relationships that had been wonderful now felt difficult. A certain type of toxic person kept showing up in all parts of my life. I had been in a string of relationships that made me feel awful.
Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” But to think different is really tough. How can you think outside of the box when you can’t even see the box?
Like detecting a black hole, I discerned that I had a problem only by recognizing the absence of everything I wanted; the loss of all my effort and energy.
The black-hole effect dawned on me in late 2016. Since then I’ve been working first on locating the hole, then on how to stop losing things to it. The decision to close my business and take time off from work and dating was a way to be sure the hole closed before I put more energy out. Indeed, nothing changes if nothing changes, so I got to work on changing me.
I’ve started to send energy outward again, and it’s encouraging to see that good things expand when they’re not disappearing into an abyss.
Where’s your blind spot?
Think of something in your work or personal life that you often find yourself wishing would change.
List all the things you’ve done and do to change or improve that thing.
Get curious about what really needs to change to make a difference.
Black hole image credit to NASA/CXC/SAO