If you are ready for a bold, life-changing experiment, read on. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to change things… in the outside world and in myself. As we all know, changing anything – especially our habits and thinking, is not easy. Steve Jobs was a fierce entrepreneur, creative thinker, and brilliant product maker and with his skills and tenacity, he was able to put a dent in the universe.
So how can we make our own mark in the universe, change something about how the world works for the better? How do we move beyond norms, routines, and society-influenced ways of thinking and really change something about how the world works for the better? Inspired by some excellent speakers I’ve recently heard, inspiring articles/books I’ve read and by my own random musings, I started running some self-imposed life experiments… which had led me to create these three quirky rules for making change:
Sejal’s 3 Rules for Creating a Dent in the Universe:
1. Play in the Sandbox. What does this mean? Engage people you meet in a warm, friendly way. Whether it’s holding a door open for someone or smiling at a colleague. The way I’ve been practicing this is I’ve started pretending the norm in elevators or in hallways isn’t to look down or look away, but to look the person in the eye and say hello, or just smile. I made up my own norm and started following it. The way that “playing in the sandbox” helps you make a dent in the universe is not just that you become a more friendly person or help brighten someone’s day (both which are fantastic by-products), but it helps you start breaking the rules. With something as simple as saying hello, you begin going against the norm. It feels weird at first and it make make you feel uncomfortable or awkward. But as you make that your normal practice, you become comfortable in being un-normal. That is where the magic lies. Other people who believe in playing in the sandbox notice and start connecting with you. People try and help you. You become more confident in your new way of seeing and influencing the world. So say hello or reach out when the norm is to not. Or find your own norm to break. And watch what happens. (Credit: This concept was inspired by a workshop I attended called Stage Time Speaker Training and, in particular, by an awesome presentation of this idea by Jenny Campbell. Thank you Jenny!)
2. Don’t let not having someone to go with stop you. I’ve found we often deprive ourselves of fantastic event and experience opportunities because we don’t have someone to go with. Maybe no one is interested, your friends are busy, or you just found out about a great event and can’t find someone to go with at the last minute. Whatever the reason, be brave and go it alone. It’s not easy… and that’s because society expects us to do things with people. But imagine the learning and enjoyment that gets missed because of this norm. Know that the universe and other people will be there when you go. You just have to be open to the possibility and not let yourself feel embarrassed or out of place. Start letting go of the notion of embarasment or failure… often it’s a roadblock that keeps us from making our most significant impact in the world. Be bold and confident… and when you go to the event or trip or restaurant, refer to Rule 1, play in the sandbox! Get comfortable in being a bit uncomfortable. You’ll start owning the feeling.
3. Don’t take the long way. Even though most people are very tech savvy, there are always apps we don’t know about, tech shortcuts we’ve been meaning to learn, and tricks and strategies that can help us do things more easily or efficiently. Time is precious and your mind can learn new things even though it can feel overwhelming. Don’t be intimidated by the time it will take to research a shortcut or learn how to do something new. Ask friends, family, or colleagues what tools they use or if they know a better way. We frequently become comfortable with the systems and habits we have in place – even though we know there is probably a better way. Keep your mind agile and use the precious time you save to dream bigger and build faster.. Making a dent is going to take time, so start streamlining your systems.
I challenge you to try these rules. You may be closer than you think to changing the world.