All of us have the power to change our lives in profound ways. It can take time, but it’s this power that gives us the strength to succeed.
This is about how to go from where you are now to where you want to be. The steps that you need to take. The habits that may need to be refined. The little things that can add up to extremely profound improvements in our lives.
First, understand how compounding works.
In my article, “Why compounding is better than gravity“, I try to explain how compounding reaches far beyond money and investments. It’s not just a money principle. It’s a phenomenon that builds upon itself, and the small changes that we make now, over time, build exponentially.
Darren Hardy, the author of the insanely popular book “The Compound Effect” (affiliate link), describes compounding as such: “It’s the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. Success is earned in the moment to moment decisions that in themselves make no visible difference whatsoever, but the accumulated compounding effect is profound.”
If small changes make profound impacts over time, how do we put these changes into motion?
Change your life from your inbox?
Signup for my newsletter to receive some [hopefully] life-changing stuff that'll get you thinking about living differently.
How to Change Your Life
Like we discussed in the previous section, thinking differently is the first step in changing our lives. We need to decide that our current life is not making us happy. A change is necessary.
For example, building your permanent paradise takes time, but it’s how we make positive changes. It’s the goal(s) we are striving toward.
Problem: Impostor syndrome
One of the stories I’ll remember the most came from a long-time friend of my wife’s who battled and eventually overcame her bout with impostor syndrome. She recognized a deficit in her life and admitted to herself that something was wrong. Through a series of relatively small changes, she restored the confidence she needed to her life.
Problem: Debt and spending
If your goal is to get out of debt, establish realistic and achievable goals to curb the draining cycle of debt spending. Don’t take on additional debt if you can avoid it. Take a stand against debt and prioritize eliminating it from your life, even if that means sacrificing some of the things that you used to spend money on. Pay off high-interest debts first. Then, automate your financial life so it takes discipline out of the equation.
Believe it or not, I never used to be a confident person. Throughout high school, I would struggle with confidence so much that I never put myself out there. Never took chances. Rarely raised my hand in class to answer questions. I remained introverted, and as a result, I missed out on a lot. Today, I live my life at the intersection of humble and confidence through a process of changing my mindset into one where I belong.
Problem: Life is overwhelming
Try the Kaizen method. It’s an understanding that change can be tough, but small changes often result in the most meaningful improvements to our lives. Establish achievable goals, then reward yourself when you achieve them. Those rewards keep us motivated and focused, actively striving for bigger and better things.
Problem: Fulfillment at work
Whether you feel fulfilled at your job or not, there’s incredible wisdom in keeping a healthy distance between your job and your sense of fulfillment. Love your work, but not necessarily your job. Why? Because one day, you may not love your job.
There are a ton of resources on the blog about transforming your life, and I’m proud to have accomplished so much of what I set out to do.
Here are some of my favorites.
Not to sound like a motivational speaker, but I strongly believe that we humans can do nearly anything that we put our minds to. Not everything (I’ll never become an astronaut), but more than most of us care to admit. Even if you need to lie to yourself, making a choice that you belong with others who you admire and look up to sparks a remarkable transition in your life. In your head.
Our minds interpret the world that surrounds us. The colors that we see, the language we hear and people we interact with all get filtered through our brains. Our brains add a layer of context, and magically, our natural environment, coupled with that context, becomes our understanding of the world in which we live.
To an increasing number of Americans, we’re defining success not by the amount of money that we make, but by our happiness. I freaking love it. Happiness is more powerful than money. Than fame. Than…well, power, and influence. Happiness is a huge element to being successful. But, how do we get there?
There’s nothing wrong with being prepared but resist the temptation to have everything planned out to the T, because life will always force us to change. The longer I worked in corporate America – hell, the longer I lived my life, I began to realize a remarkable factor that I had never considered: Change. Constant change was wasting my time.
My dad taught me a fascinating lesson when growing up. It was a lesson about your outlook on life and how, as if by magic, one can control his or her outcome simply by expecting it. How arrogant, I thought as a child.
Motivation. In for the long haul. Keep on going. Once all the doing is done…now we wait.
Steve is a 37-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.