We change when we want to. The catalyst can be whatever we want it to be.

I’m fascinated by human beings, what makes them do what they do. Somehow I believe that if I listen to enough people tell their stories, observe enough lives in progress, read enough, at some point a critical mass of information will have been gathered, some tipping point reached and it will all begin to make sense! I’m still waiting for that eureka moment, but in the meantime I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process of trying to get to know my fellow travelers on planet Earth.

I’m captivated by the ability of people to create and direct change within themselves. In particular, I’ve long wondered what triggers the decision to make a change. I have observed people stubbornly resist change for years and years and then one day: Poof, like a flipped switch, a new attitude, a new point of view, a new perspective takes hold and new behaviors result.

I’ve finally decided there is relatively little external logic to it. It is mainly internal and it is quite simple: We change when we want to, we don’t when we don’t want to. And when we are ready to change, we will use or anchor on any external event or reason we choose.

This story illustrates the point beautifully: A pastor was standing at the church door following a service, saying goodbye to his congregation, one by one. Toward the end of the line, a man grabbed the preacher’s hands with enthusiasm and declared that he had found great guidance, tremendous wisdom, in the day’s sermon. Anxious to know what he had said that so moved the man, the minister asked for detail. The man replied: “It was near the middle of the sermon, father, when you said ‘that concludes the first part and now it is time to move on to the next part.’ I realized that I needed to move on and forget my past mistakes. Your words were right on point and gave me the inspiration and courage I needed.”

We change when we want to, when we decide that we have spent enough time wandering in the wilderness, when we decide that enough is enough, that we desire better, that we deserve better, that we are capable of creating better. And why not now?

We can change whenever we want to and the catalyst can be whatever we want it to be. Is there any change in your life that you have been thinking about, mulling over? Why not now?

As the preacher said, “Now it is time to move on.”

This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive, originally posted July 10, 2008.