Some people continuously spout that personal change is good and easy and while that statement is probably true, quite often, people stay relatively the same all of their lives. They grow up talking a certain way, perhaps swearing a lot or perhaps with having a gruff style and when you visit them 40 years later; they’re essentially the same.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to friends from my distant past, going back around 40 years. One of my good friends from school turned to a life of crime. However, when I recently met him I remembered the bond we shared as close friends as kids not the muck he had been involved in most of his adult life. I remembered the inner person that he was. I believed that he probably had reverted back to his real-self—his self of not being a user or a criminal. When we met, he was pleasant and we hugged as we were close friends back in the day and we made tentative plans to get together and reminisce.
But as we talked on the phone I noticed a fundamental difference between us. A core difference of most everything that makes a human being what he or she is. Where I thought we could start from where we had left off and go from there, I realized that I was wrong. He had changed and so had I. Not that he was a bad person; not at all. But he and I had different mindsets and major differences in how life formed our characters. For us, to bond closely again would have been insurmountable. He went on a path that I surely also was on in my youth but one that I turned away from. I had completely changed from then to now. I could not go back. I felt a bit sad that two good friends were really a thing of the past—but life is what it is.
I talked to another friend who was a close friend as a kid and when we talked, every other word out of his mouth was a four-letter word—just like I had talked when I was growing up and when we were friends. But I stopped that excessive swearing many years ago and rarely talk like a Shanghaied sailor. I had changed so much from my past. However, he was quite the same. Again, not bad, but deeply and fundamentally different from what I was now.
I was terrible in English in school as a kid. For kicks, I just took an English exam and I aced it. As a kid, I might have lucked out and got one or two of them correct. But I had learned to like different things such as writing and I had to learn some fundamentals of English to accomplish it with some level of competence—I had deeply changed. I was shy as kid. Now I could make a speech in front of world leaders in my underwear. I had not believed in right and wrong, good or bad, human potential and so many other things that today are as plain as the big nose on my face. I had changed—and I feel so fortunate.
I feel fortunate because I changed from a very limited personal standing or potential in life to a discovery of differences and accomplishments that I never ever thought I would be a part of.
But so many people do not change. In fact, the majority of people stay essentially the same all their lives. Little differences, little growth but fundamentally the same. Is that bad? I say, in most cases, yes. Muhammad Ali once said, “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he viewed the world at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” And therein lies the problem.
Men who never go for their lifelong dreams of travel, work or passions are in this non-change group. Women who continue to go after men who represent safe all their lives because of insecurities instead of believing in themselves and getting out of hang-up relationships are in this non-change group. Kids who stay shy and closed inside themselves and whom never become what they could be, are in this non-change group. And for men, women and children who do not believe that they can be some unseen positive entity and who feel that they can only be what they see at the end of their noses, they are in this non-change group. And lastly, people who are stuck in a rigid mindset and refuse to accept change, are in this non change group. These folks who refuse to accept the flow of a positive life taking them elsewhere—somewhere different and somewhere good—are certainly in this non-change group.
So, ladies and gentleman I say embrace change. Feel fortunate that you can be different today than you were yesterday. That you can be different than what you may be stuck in now. You must keep an open mind to everything. Don’t fear it, go for it, let go and feel fortunate.
Steve's a three-time survivor of violence in his youth and was an award winning police officer.
For several years, Steve also did radio political and current event commentary and taught college Criminal Justice. He is the former host of the long running 'The Kovacs Perspective' Internet radio talk show.
Presently, Steve is the owner and Managing Director of one of the oldest martial art schools in Ohio, 'The Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense'.
Latest posts by Steve Kovacs (see all)
- Black Lives Really Mattering and My Friend the Boxer - September 7, 2017
- Meaning—Makes the Man and Woman–Makes the Difference - August 28, 2017
- Bars, Demonstrations, and Getting Thumped… - August 14, 2017