Thursday, April 4, 2013

Successful Change Requires Doing The Unexpected

Athletics at the 1900 Summer Olympics – Men's ...
Athletics at the 1900 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Stanley F Bronstein

The Best Of Moves Is The One That Is Unexpected (Sun Tzu)

Tacticians who become masters at doing the unexpected will always catch their opponents and their competition "off guard."

By constantly doing the unexpected, your opponents and your competition will not be able to foresee your actions.

By not being able to foresee your actions, your opponents and your competition will not be able to prepare a timely response to your actions, so they will almost always be unprepared.

A Real Life Example

When I finally decided I was going to do what it takes, for as long as it takes, to lose weight, I caught some of the people in my life "off guard."

They had seen that I was morbidly obese for pretty much more of my life and they had given up on me. In many ways, I had just about given up on myself.

But then, something changed ... I changed ...

I woke up the morning of February 1, 2009 and I announced to my wife (and the world) that I was going to change. No one had expected this. Probably the only one who "might" have expected it would have been me.

On some level I always knew I was going to make these changes in my life, but time was definitely not on my side. I had procrastinated for just about as long as I could and it was starting to catch up with me.

My health was starting to suffer and it was just a matter of time before I started having some serious problems.

I'm Certainly Glad I Changed

The "unexpected" move I made on February 1, 2009 was incredible. Just about every aspect of my life has changed since I made that "unexpected" move. Along the way, I've made many more unexpected move.

In 2010, I did a 69 day tour where I walked for 5 hours a day in all 50 states of the United States. This tour required me to walk 5 hours each and then drive myself to the next state afterwards. Some days I would walk for 5 hours and then drive for 10. Some people thought I was nuts. They said I was going to "kill" myself by doing this.

Well, guess what? I didn't kill myself and it wasn't nearly as hard to do as everyone (including myself) had built it up to be.

Another change I've made is that I've turned into a marathoner. I walk these marathons and I walk them slowly. They're not officially sanctioned marathons. It's just me and my treadmill going for 26.2 mile walks.

In 2012, I announced I was going to walk at least one marathon every other week. I wound up doing 32 marathons in 2012. Was it tough? In some ways yes, but in other ways no. While it was no small effort, it was definitely something I was capable of doing.

It's now early April 2013 and I've already walked 20 marathons this year. In fact, I walked 20 in a row from March 1 through March 20, 2013. Once again, everyone thought I was nuts. But it turned out to definitely be doable and I will probably wind up doing it again.

So, What's My Point?

My point is that we put expectations on ourselves. The people around us put expectations on us. All too often, these expectation tend to limit us. After all, if we don't think we can walk a marathon, we probably won't even try.

If we don't try, we most certainly won't be able to do it. If we don't think we can lose weight, we probably won't try. If we don't think we can quit drinking, we probably won't try. If we don't think we can quit smoking, we probably won't try. If we don't think we can improve our relationships, we probably won't try. The potential list of limitations is endless ...

So, I Ask You

What are some of the things you believe the people in your life are expecting you to do?
1. __________________________________________
2. __________________________________________
3. __________________________________________
4. __________________________________________
5. __________________________________________

What are some possible things the people in your life are NOT expecting you to do?
1. __________________________________________
2. __________________________________________
3. __________________________________________
4. __________________________________________
5. __________________________________________

As you prepare to face your obstacles (including yourself) that are preventing you from incorporating successful change into your life, the more you can draw from the second list (i.e. the unexpected list) the more likely you will be able to make successful, positive, permanent, lasting changes in your life.

Until next time, may you find your path by walking it ... Stanley Bronstein.

Stanley Bronstein is the author of 7 books, 6 of which are in the area of personal development. His latest project, was the creation of the intensive course SuperChangeYourLife

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