I wrote in recent weeks about starting afresh in life and considering the current world situation as an opportunity. This also presents an opportunity to reinvent oneself, and that’s what I’m writing about today…
“You are never too old to reinvent yourself.” – Steve Harvey.
According to a 2020 study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, birds that adapt and innovate are less likely to become extinct. The study conducted by a team of researchers from Canada’s McGill University and CREAF Barcelona, Spain also cited how crows intentionally drop nuts onto roads so cars can crack open the shells and how herons use bait to catch fish. It is wildly and incredibly creative.
Humans are no different of course.
In times of crisis, and in the longer times after a crisis, nothing is ever the same. Our world permanently changes. We change.
“When things are bad, it’s the best time to reinvent yourself.” – George Lopez.
Why you may need to reinvent yourself:
Our existence in this human body is like an onion, the more you peel, the more layers you discover.
And so exists the art of reinvention.
We reinvent because, at some level, our body, mind, and spirit are aware that we have much more to experience, explore, love, and create in this lifetime.
And reinvention is one way we are able to access more aspects of our selves.
In order to reinvent yourself, you need to be self-aware, willing, and open to learning.
Ultimately the choice is in our hands, to be or not to be a potentially fuller version of our true selves.
There are plenty of obvious reasons that make it important for a person to keep reinventing himself or herself. Here’s a look at some of the major ones:
- It keeps you in the game
- It increases useful positivity
- It helps you push your limits
- It redefines who you are
- It ensures that you don’t get bored
In the end, much of it is about growth. Like birds, as our environment changes, we must pick a path. Will we go down the road of sitting on the side-lines watching the game unfold? Or will we get in the game, change how we play and push to win, push to stay relevant, and push to avoid extinction?
Reinvention means change; often it is a massive change. And changes are not usually easy and many of us are afraid of change. Then how do we go about it?
Ways to reinvent yourself:
You see you often change under two circumstances, either when you experience pain or pleasure. Pleasure can be that you want more of something in your life so you work to have more of that pleasure, this could be something as small as saving up to buy a new pair of trainers. Or it can be painful, well simply put, you can’t stand it anymore. Like you can’t stand the lack of money you have as you can’t do anything you want.
Here we come to a crossroads and the problem with many who have tried to change is that life is just ‘fine.’ It is comfortable. The hard work to change or the thought that maybe I am not cut out for a different life holds many of us back. Our mind and beliefs us ‘you know what, it’s not so bad, it’s fine where you are.’
But that is not what you want and you are often presented with 3 choices, you can let your current failures in pursuit of the life you want define you, destroy you, or inspire you to take massive action to reinvent yourself.
Step 1: Accept Responsibility
First, you have to accept responsibility for your life. Where you are is partially (some might say mainly) because of the beliefs you hold, and they are shaped by your life experiences, your major life influences and even the media. Good or bad, these past experiences have shaped how you feel and act within your everyday life. Simply put, the beliefs that have influenced you and that drive you were ultimately shaped by you into your actions and your actions have consequences.
But here’s the thing: you are creative, resourceful and have the capability to change, you do not have to be defined by your past.
So right now you have got to tell yourself, “yes maybe there were challenges or mistakes or misfortune in my past but that does not have to define me. If I want to, I can actually change and invest my effort in changing.” This all starts by raising your self-awareness and accepting responsibility, from here you are ready to move from first to second gear.
Step 2: Find Your Why
Having a sense of purpose is important. Next, take stock of your current self, heighten your awareness by asking why you want to change; what are the reasons that are driving this change. When you list your reasons for changing, the change is driven with intensity and a sense of purpose. Your whys will be the fuel, the more whys the better. So when you ask yourself ‘Why do I want to reinvent myself’, also add the words “so that” to the end of the answer.
I want to reinvent myself to be free of debt so that I can invest in my family’s future.
So that… they have more opportunities themselves.
So that… I can spend more time with them.
So that… they derive more joy from their lives.
WHY is a powerful tool, so start by answering this question. What are the reasons that I wish to reinvent myself? What will it do for me?
Step 3: Commit Fully
Many of us feel inspired or motivated for change but we get stuck on following through with a transformation and it often comes down to psychological obstacles we all put up. We create obstacles or barriers that prevent us from starting. This can range from negative beliefs, simple excuses to full-blown fears. So many people say they want to change their job, stop smoking, reduce weight before Summer but they put up barriers and make excuses that keep them in the same place.
So this is the time when you sometimes have to make sacrifices, remove the things in your life that hold you back, if you want to reduce weight, create the time you need to exercise, wake up earlier, exercise at home, walk at lunch, just find a way to start and commit on a small level.
Ask yourself the following to raise awareness:
• What people, habits, and beliefs are holding me back from the change I want? What do I say to myself that prevents me from taking the actions needed?
• What options do I have for letting go of these things?
• What is the first step I can take, where is the first place I can start?
• What sacrifices do I need to make?
If you want something badly enough from your whys, you will find ways to cut out the distractions to help you get there. You may need to burn your boats – just like the Vikings would often do to indicate there was no turning back from battle.
Step 4: Define your Future
In order to gain clarity on this new version of you, you have to define the future you. Think about where you want to be in 1-year time, close your eyes and imagine your possible self. Get creative. Ask yourself some questions. There are no wrong or right answers here, just simply ask these questions to help you, get a really detailed idea of how you want your life to be.
• Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
• Where are you working?
• What are you wearing to work?
• What are you doing at weekends?
• Where do you want to live?
• What am I working towards?
Write down your goals and visions. Studies have shown that if you write down a goal, you’re more likely to achieve it. Researchers from McGill University and the University of Toronto asked 85 struggling students to complete an intensive written goal-setting program; after four months those students were doing much better in school than a control group.
Step 5: Use Visual Reminders
Now you have primed yourself, you need to be aware of the power of imagination. When you think about what you want, it starts to create images in your mind that help drive you in that direction. Your brain and your nervous system can start working on taking the necessary action to achieve the goal.
These mental pictures allow you to form new traits, inspire confidence, and create new neural pathways in the brain. They provide you with an opportunity to practise attitudes that we would not otherwise necessarily do.
Did you know that?
Many therapeutic approaches involve a patient being asked to close their eyes and visualise who they want to become through a “mental motion picture” or to mentally rehearse successful therapeutic outcomes.
Conrad Hilton of the Hilton Hotel group states that he imagined every day he would operate a hotel long before he bought one.
And Napoleon apparently practised soldiering long before he stepped foot on a battlefield so that he could see how the fight would play out.
So close your eyes and strengthen the imagined vision of the future you, create a vision board of things that inspire you perhaps, the trick is to keep viewing what you want in your life each day, as a famous quote from Einstein says-
“Imagination is a preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Step 6: Action Plan
When creating your action plan you need to relate it to your goals.
Now you know what you want, what’s in your way and where you want to be, and why you want it, this ultimately has formed your outcome goal. Now you create a process, forge a plan of how you are going to get there. Consider these your steps towards your new self, which will form your action plan.
You can answer these types of questions to move forward:
• What steps can you take to work towards this new version of you?
• What new habits will I have to create?
• What new knowledge or skills will you need to learn?
• Whose help do I need to achieve this?
• What key milestones must I set that will help keep me on track?
• What small sacrifices might I need to stay on course?
• What’s a realistic time-frame for achieving all this?
• What is the first step you need to take this week?
• What is the first step you need to take right now?
If you can answer all of these sorts of questions then you will have more clarity about who and how you are choosing to be.
As a bonus, If you can find someone to share your goal with and hold you accountable each week this is a great benefit for motivation and accountability.
Even if faced with challenging times, encourage yourself to bet on yourself. You can reinvent yourself by adapting to your environment and innovating. Yes, it’s often hard. None of it is likely to be easy. Believe in yourself and know three things:
1. You can do the difficult work to create the person you wish to be.
2. You can get through the hard times.
3. You have the right amount of creativity and resourcefulness to adapt.
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.” – Jon Krakauer.