True North Mastery Blog

Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional

Must change start with the self? Have you ever considered why you have no control over the things around you? The fact is you are the cause and the surroundings are the effect.
When you are clear about what you want, a transformation begins internally that in turn affects your surroundings.

From a highly inspirational programme I attended in 1997, I walked away with the quote, “For things to change, first I must change.” I tried changing the “I” but never understood its premise. Ironically, I got into plenty of financial and personal problems after attending this programme, losing my business investments in naïveté. Given the universal laws taught, one who has attended the programme ought to have averted the mistakes that I made. Not me, however. I was the rare foolish one who did everything opposite to what I learnt.

What I realised through this bitter experience is that knowledge does not equate to understanding — the latter begins only when the former is put to test. Are we spiritual beings or human ones? This is a debate that has gone on for ages between the religious and the philosophical. I discovered in my introspection and subsequent learning that the “I” is spiritual. The basic premise is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience rather than human beings having a spiritual experience. Furthermore, spirit without matter is expressionless, while matter without spirit is motionless. Establishing the authenticity of the “I” is therefore fundamentally critical.

At ever a point when doubt emerges, it inevitably turns into FEAR, a.k.a. “False Evidence Appearing Real” — a premonition that something bad is going to happen in the future. We are born to win but programmed to fail. This programme encompasses the doubts created by social idealism, which Albert Einstein once stressed is the source of human suffering.

Doubt will always exist in place of clarity, and the only way to overcome doubt or the ensuing fear is action. Action is about putting to test the knowledge we acquired, which then yields a result that serves as a feedback mechanism. Yet whatever the outcome is, it is our sole responsibility. If we acquire the ability to respond (response-ability), we will neither lay blame nor justify, but instead take full responsibility for our action. In short, it is our responsibility to test knowledge and not accept it at face value.

That was what happened to me. Unconsciously, I put what I knew into action and got an outcome staring in my face. I had a choice to learn from it or just remain in a state of continual blame and justification, which inevitably leads to desperation. Most people live their lives in quiet desperation because they have never taken the time to acquire the ability to respond, as it is far easier to push the blame to others and justify their actions. When you take responsibility, you become a master of your destiny, as opposed to a victim of your past.

That has been my journey of the spiritual “I”. Whatever that has happened to me was ‘on the way’ rather than ‘in the way’, and all the challenges I had faced were a feedback mechanism to keep me congruent. Thus, instead of asking, “Why did this happen to me?” or “Why did you do this to me?” (justifying or laying blame), I had to ask, “How does this serve me?” and “What are the benefits and drawbacks of this?” (taking responsibility).

When I did this, I began the process of realising that my many life challenges came about because I had not been authentic and true to myself. On the contrary, I was envying others and imposing their values on me. Finding one’s True North is in essence discovering one’s true values. Find your True North now.

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