Change is a funny thing. It happens whether or not we want it to.
Often, it creeps up on us unawares, only to suddenly jump out from behind the nearest trash bin and whack us upside the head with a dirty frying pan when we learn of some new medical complication, or we look in the mirror and realize our face has changed, or step on the scale only to see a number we had never had to count to before.
Psychologically, changes are difficult, and our minds tend to try to avoid them as much as possible. We prefer our current situations, even if they’re uncomfortable, to unknown situations.
This makes it difficult to produce change when it’s exactly what we want.
I think this is why we find those infomercial-like, super hyped up promises of unlimited unicorns forever so seductive – the “Easy Internet Billions” sort of stuff – because it promises the change without having to go through the discomfort and fear of uncertainty.
For a family friendly analogy, it’s like believing that a prostitute is telling us the truth during our [statistically brief] time together. Deep down we know it’s not true, but while the illusion lasts it’s preferable to reality.
Well I disagree, and say it’s time to shatter some illusions, embrace our realities, and learn how to take control of our personal evolution.
When it comes to making rapid, new growth quickly, nothing acts as a personal reserve of plutonium like “paying yourself first.”
While there are a lot of foundational principles we need to apply if we want to Crack The Happiness Code, such as taking responsibility, learning to quickly recover from setbacks, being decisive, and cultivating awareness, paying ourselves first is first in line when it comes to concrete acts of transformation.
The idea is taken from the financial world and supported by the likes of Warren Buffet and every financial guru worth his/her weight in cake, and it is marvelously applicable to our personal lives.
The idea is simple: With any resource we have: money, time, energy – the first thing we must do every day is invest it on ourselves and our top priorities.
That way, we avoid the normal cycle of get up-work hard-burn out-sleep that can continue for years alongside a mounting frustration over why we’re so lazy, stupid or unmotivated.
Because our results often have nothing to do with these things. It’s the fact we have a system in place guaranteeing our failure.
When we pay ourselves first: By setting aside part of our paycheck for our dream house, investing, or another goal; By getting up earlier and working towards our biggest goal before spending all our best energy at our job; By spending 5-10 minutes relaxing, meditating, reflecting, or doing nothing before heading out into the chaos of the outside world – that it when we are now in a position to succeed. Now we have taken control of our change, instead of letting the world around us have all the say.
Studies have shown that when we ignore our biggest wants and desires, self esteem decreases. On the other hand, when we take action towards them, self-efficacy increases. The best way to improve our self confidence is actually quite simple: by doing what we want.
By doing this, we show ourselves that the things we truly care about are valuable and worthwhile.
Nobody else is going to value our desires as much as we can. So it’s our responsibility to find a way to fulfill them. And the best way of doing this is to put ourselves first.
That way we always have a little something in our emotional bank accounts. And eventually we’ll find the coffers overflowing with self-confidence, self-esteem, and meaningful results.
Change is going to happen anyway. So instead of letting it surprise us the next time we’re walking past the mailbox, why not get a drop on it with your personal plutonium – paying yourself first. You might just surprise a lot of people along the way – starting with yourself.