Who are you, really?
Are you the persona that you work so hard to present to the world?
Or, are you that guy that comes out during times of stress, overwhelming desire, or when you’re intoxicated?
What if we thought of ourselves more like a set of probabilities.
There are some predictions we can make based on our past choices, behaviors, and habits. We also need to factor in current contextual demands, like being ill, tired, stressed, or around new people.
All of these forces and variables come together in each moment to shape how we act.
We are not a slave to these forces.
Change is always possible, no matter how hopeless or set in stone the outcome may seem.
Sometimes all it takes is one word or event witnessed for a person to strike off in a radical new direction.
This is less common, however.
A more reliable strategy to ensure positive changes and outcomes requires us to put in place a multitude of supportive influences.
This will dramatically raise the likelihood of success.
Think of a car driving down a muddy old dirt road full of deep ruts.
The tires of the car are kept in these slippery grooves by a collection of forces.
Lack of traction keeps the tires from gripping the sides and climbing out. The weight of the car fights against any chance of traction or just bouncing out of the rut. And even if you do manage to pop up out of the rut for a moment, there is little to gain purchase and remain that way.
We live our daily lives by moving through a variety of these grooves. We turn down the road named “Talking to my brother on the phone,” and we slip into the well established grooves that shape the tone and outcome of that conversation.
It is up to us then to become aware of the grooves of our lives, because they will be generally predictive of the outcomes we’re going to achieve. They will tell us who we’re probably going to be in a variety of contexts.
Then we must decide which groves we want to escape (or at least reshape) and what we’d like to replace them with.
Whatever change you are trying to create, it will require you to put into place supports.
This could be removing or adding things to your environment. It could mean changing the path you take physically throughout the day. Another example would be to change the structure of your day to encourage or discourage certain choices.
Of course, we must also account for the people that exist in our various work, social, and familial circles. We are social creatures, and they will usually hold more power over our path than most other factors.
Can you see how the many habitual patterns in your life are predicting who you will be tomorrow?