Let's imagine you are a person who loves the ocean and white sandy beaches. Let's also imagine for a minute that you have had a dream that you will retire at age 45, be financially sound so you can leave the working world behind and fully enjoy the retired life you have always imagined. At 45 you retire, at 46 you have sold all your current worldly possessions, packed the cash into various investment vehicles and with a loaded bank account head for the island of your dreams.
Congratulations! You did it! Your dream of what you wanted for the future was your motivation that kept you on track during the difficult times when the dream seemed so far off, and at times down right impossible to achieve.
Now imagine for a minute, you are 56 and you have enjoyed the island and retired life for 10 years. Sitting on that white sandy beach drinking that fruity cocktail and looking out over the ocean you realize that you are not happy. This is everything you have always wanted, but you are not happy and decide it is time for a different plan - a change.
Let's look at this for a moment. Some of you would find this crazy. You worked hard, resisted many temptations to let your dream go, and did what you set out to do. You achieved your goals, thus happiness. And for many, living out their dream, is success and happiness. For others it will not be.
But perhaps it is the inspiration behind the dream that motivates the changes and that which truly drives happiness. If you lived in a third-world country and happened to get a glimpse of what daily life looked like in a first-world country, that picture of a better life for you and your family, could become the inspiration to motivate a move from your current home to one in a different country.
If you had lived in a desert your entire life and visited the ocean for the first time, perhaps the vision of the ocean would inspire you to uproot your life and move to a home and a career by the sea. In yet a different scenario, you were home and enjoying a couple beers. Deciding you wanted a couple more you head off to the corner store to grab a six pack. On the way out of your neighborhood, a kid darts out from between two parked cars chasing a ball. You successfully stop the car but realize that your reflexes are not what they should have been. Maybe you realize, at that moment, that you have a drinking problem, and this near miss is your inspiration to seek help. Different scenarios and different motivators for change but all require a change in your thinking and your approach. That change creates the inspiration needed to generate motivation and follow through.
Always curious about human nature, the following list is a collection of mostly one-word responses from friends who have told me what "change" means to them. Do any of them resonate with you? Do you find any of them inspiring?
Adjustment, Destination, Develop, Eureka!, Excitement, Escape from past, Fear, Fulfillment, Future, Happiness, Harmony, Hesitation, Influence, Innovation, Inspire, Mobilization, Overcome, Prevail, Recalibrate, Reconstruct, Reform, Reinvention, Remodel, Reshape, Revise, Revolution, Success, Transformation, Unknown, Work, Yes!
Change, and indeed the inspiration to seek it or embrace it, requires an individual to dig down deep and do the heavy lifting necessary to achieve it. Sometimes, it means you have to toss away the garbage blocking your way in order to create and navigate the path beyond. But on this I agree with Bill Clinton, "One thing is for certain, the price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change."