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February 25, 2014

Fighting for relevance

Call it what you want, but we are all fighting for relevance in this crazy world. For all of us, we are doing something to mould ourselves into something that makes sense to us because we’ve either:

– seen it personified in a lifestyle
– watched it manifest in a friend or loved one
– been indoctrinated by mainstream media

Every one of us is fighting for our own relevance. It’s why we defend our actions, why we participate in these events and why we eat what we eat. The concept of ‘self’ is so far removed because you will never find the core self – its so wrapped up in years of choices and decisions that the only option is to accept your current self as the original self.

You cannot change that past person but you can change the current. Actions speak louder than words and words are generally about the future, and the past. Actions tend to be present, by my calculations and that is why they are so powerful.

We all have our fears. We all have our doubts. We all have resistance to change. We are all the same in some way. Your relevance is someone elses. These are all important things.

I read a little bit about change this morning and it relates to relevance, because our fight with relevance relates to how we go through change. There are 5 stages to change:

Precontemplation.
Not yet acknowledging that there is a problematic behavior that needs to be changed. People in this stage tend to defend their current bad habit(s) and do not feel it is a problem. They may be defensive in the face of other people’s efforts to pressure them to quit. They do not focus their attention on quitting and tend not to discuss their bad habit with others. In some addiction circles, this stage is also called “denial.”

Contemplation.
Acknowledging that there is a problem, but not yet ready or sure of wanting to make a change. In the contemplation stage people are more aware of the personal consequences of their bad habit, and spend time thinking about their problem. People are on a teeter-totter, weighing the pros and cons of quitting or modifying their behavior. Although they think about the negative aspects of their bad habit and the positives associated with giving it up (or reducing), they may doubt that the long-term benefits associated with quitting will outweigh the short-term costs.

Preparation/Determination.
Getting ready to change. In the preparation/determination stage, people have made a commitment to make a change. Their motivation for changing is reflected by statements such as: “I’ve got to do something about this – this is serious. Something has to change. What can I do?” This is sort of a research phase: people are now taking small steps toward change. They are trying to gather information about what they will need to do to change their behavior.

Action/Willpower.
Changing behavior. This is the stage where people believe they have the ability to change their behavior and are actively involved in taking steps to change. This is a stage when people most depend on their own willpower. They are making overt efforts to quit or change the behavior, and are at greatest risk for relapse, so it’s key that they leverage any techniques available to stay motivated.

Maintenance.
Maintaining the behavior change. Maintenance involves being able to successfully avoid any temptations to return to the bad habits. The goal of the maintenance stage is to maintain the new status quo. People in this stage tend to remind themselves of how much progress they have made. They remain aware that what they are striving for is personally worthwhile and meaningful. They are patient with themselves and recognize that it often takes a while to let go of old behavior patterns and practice new ones until they are second nature to them. Even though they may have thoughts of returning to their old bad habits, they resist the temptation and stay on track.

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Fascinating stuff and as I read it, I mentally went through all the change I am going through at the moment and checked where I was in each process. There are a few that overlap and a few that need to find each other. Either way, fun to know.

When it comes to fear, there are many reasons we don’t go through with the change that is NEEDED, but the biggest one is fear. Here are the major types of fear that are standing in the way of the greatest version of yourself, which is just a few steps away:

Fear of admission.
If you admit you have a problem, then you by default acknowledge that you need to do something about it. Change is hard. Status quo, while often painful and depressing, still may feel easier.

Fear of failure.
Some folks have tried so many times to lose weight, fix their health issues, exercise more—and they consider each attempt a failure, whether they actually made progress or not. Failure is painful—and vowing to try yet again is a scary proposition.
Fear of success. Believe it or not, some people have assigned their illness or health issues as their identity. It’s become a part of who they are—they have MS, they have arthritis, they’re just overweight, and that’s how they’ll always be. And asking someone to lose their identity, even if it’s for the better, is inherently threatening.

Fear of responsibility.
This is perhaps the toughest to work through. People blame “fate” for their illness—it’s genetics, it’s hereditary, it’s their environment. To accept the idea that they could feel better by changing their diet and lifestyle is to accept the fact that their own actions in part could have contributed to their illness or health condition—and accepting that degree of responsibility is incredibly difficult.

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Again, I went through the changes going on around me and checked which type of fear might be holding me back. I made a list. Now it’s time to own that list and conquer some fears.

Why – because I am fighting for my own relevance. I am growing up. This requires growth and my relevance changes as I move to having a family, as my athletic goals become lifestyle goals and finally, as my world grows I need to grow.

To the little fish, the pond always seems immense.

The pond is pretty big right now, what with all the distractions the world so beautifully offers us, wrapped in the finest silk promising the greatest rewards for being beautiful, successful and driving the right car. The trick is to find your niche and be a big fish in your own little pond.

In closing, click this link and take a minute to read it. It’s laaaank important: CLICK ME!

One Comment on “Fighting for relevance

Stuart
October 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Dude, your writing is awesome – and so relevant (excuse the pun). Thanks for this! Plenty of quality reads on here

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