“When people are ready to, they change.
They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it.
You can’t make them change if they don’t want to,
just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.”
A colleague of mine, another coach and consultant, recently talked about why people so often do not take that next step and act on their vision. He said they are fearful, and those fearful thoughts bring them nothing but things to fear. There is some truth to this. Perhaps you’ve heard it phrased another way, made popular recently by The Secret (although the concept has been around for much, much longer): Our thoughts create our reality.
The truth, of course, is much more nuanced than this—and much grander.
For one thing, the universe is a pretty big place. Earth alone, although infinitesimal inthe scale of the universe, is itself an elaborate and complex entity. Did my thoughts create the increasing hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes sweeping the globe? That’s a little arrogant, don’t you think? Billions of people on Earth, and my thoughts are producing large-scale weather events?
On the other hand, our collective actions have certainly contributed to the climate changes that have led to these events. Their general occurrence was predictable (and predicted), even if the specific times and places were not. Not to acknowledge this would also be a little arrogant.
Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts, and even small actions can have a large effect. The Butterfly Effect is alive and well—one small action, the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, can cause a chain reaction of other small actions that build up into monumental events. Consider this as well: The absence of those flapping wings also has an effect. That particular chain reaction doesn’t happen, but another one does.
In other words, even our inaction has an effect on our world.
We all have a visionary inside us, but for some, it lies dormant in its chrysalis while their lives go on quietly around it. Imagine what the world would be like if we all completed our personal transformation, broke free from the chrysalis, and allowed ourselves to fly? What kind of chain reaction could we start with thousands, even millions of visionary wings flapping? Even the small steps we take toward reinventing our lives to have more meaning and impact could have a significant effect on our planet.
I think my colleague and The Secret have it half right. Our thoughts do create our reality. But we are complicated beings, with multiple voices giving rise to an elaborate web of thoughts. Before we start thinking our vision into existence, we need to make sure it’s the visionary within us who is dominating the conversation. Even then, all the visionary thoughts in the world do not produce change if we simply sit around thinking and waiting for change to come to us. When you think over all you’ve accomplished in your life, you know this is true. Your attitude and thoughts played a huge role, but you couldn’t have done any of it without one thing—action.
What keeps many of us from awakening that visionary voice and listening to it is that we are unsure of the actions we need to take. We want to make such a monumental impact on our lives and on the world that we can’t help but think every step must also be monumental—and that’s a little overwhelming. But that is where we’re wrong. Those first steps must be meaningful, but they can be as small as the flapping wings of a newly emerged butterfly. The results, if you just keep flying, can be nothing short of world-changing.
You are not alone in wanting to fulfill your purpose on Earth. The more of us who flap our wings, the bigger the effect we can have on our lives, the lives of our families and communities, and ultimately the world.
Image Credit: Billy Warhol