Tag Archives: change

Einstein, default settings and inner change

16 Nov

Albert Einstein (some say) once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results was the definition of insanity.  My good friend Sheena once said that if you are sick of getting what you always get, stop doing what you always do  – the original source of this quote is unknown! Now, there is nothing wrong with my ears, nor my cognitive processing, but despite hearing and sagely acknowledging both of these wise quotes many times, my general demeanor and disposition would suggest otherwise to an on-looker.

Personal or inner change is difficult to achieve – the process is long, slow and frustrating with genuine ‘turning-points’ being too few and far between to keep us determined. We know we desperately want to change – what ever it is we are trying to change – to make our lives better. We set ourselves at the ready, know what we need to do in the given situation and we have our plan of action all worked out.

It was at this point that I failed spectacularly every time. Despite my best thought-out intentions, when it eventually came to the crunch – when the ‘upgraded me’ was due make its grand entrance, I would unceremoniously revert back to my default settings and fail miserably.

Inner change is essentially re-programming, especially when you are dealing with deep-seated issues like self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Each of these elements revolve around the other, knitted tightly through themselves and it is almost impossible to have one without the other two. Changing the perception of yourself from within is a lengthy process, taken in tiny steps through a plethora of thoughts, interactions, reasonings and judgments over a long time. It’s a long haul for anyone.

For me, I was completely useless at standing up for myself. End of.  I hated that I mostly always took on the role of  inferiority by default. It was only when my back was completely against the wall that I fought my corner – and even then, my fight was unsteady, flinching and unconvincing. I didn’t believe in myself.

Trying to change this was enormous and at the same time it all depended on so many variables – past experiences in similar situations, knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of who or what I was dealing with, my own self-confidence on a given day and my challenged sense of my own self-worth. It was so difficult to stay in control – to try to come out evens – when you always felt less strong than those around you.

My constant disappointment in myself at my inability to stick up for myself finally forced me to attempt to change. The main catalyst for attempting this change was a massive life event whereby my default response of inferiority pushed me into deeper trouble and unwittingly assuming guilt. I was so out of my depth, was so distraught and frustrated that perhaps the fight element of the ‘fight or flight’ response kicked in. Maybe it was the final straw and I had been pushed to the limit but deep within me the spark of self-worth ignited. Finally.

It was a big day – not because of the event itself but because I was sick of getting what I always got, so I stopped doing what I always did. It wasn’t an immediate over-all change – but little events happened after that where I could practice what I had learned from the big event – sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed.


Eventually though, a new pattern (although sporadic) began to emerge. It was slow for sure but I am now stunned by the internal knock-on effects and inner strength standing up for yourself brings. It was a tough slog to get on this road, but I am slowly beginning to feel like the person I should have been all along.


This day 12 months ago, I was here, kissing stingrays…

9 May




This time last year, I was here, swimming with stingrays. Beautiful, isn’t it? I took a boat trip with Captain Marvin out to North Sound on Grand Cayman to swim with the elusive stingrays – if you kiss one, it brings luck or something he told me.  So much has changed since that day and my life is now on a completely different path. I sat on the boat that morning about 10am, allowing my senses to drink in the pristine view around me; crystal azure sea water lapping at the boat’s bow, the salty breeze dancing through the air and the pale yellow sun overhead warming my face and shoulders.  I thought about how finally my life had taken a turn in a good direction and that things were ‘finally on the up’.  It was a calm, fuzzy feeling that I have heard some people describe as being that of  ‘happy’! I took this photo so that I would remember that day forever.

Scroll on to today, I am living in a city I am unsure if I will like. It has rained non-stop since I got here. I don’t have a place to live, apart from my friend’s house; I have no job, no money and my friends and family are 2-3 hours away.  If I had met a mad old fortune-teller on that day with the stingrays who told me that in twelve months time, this is where I would be, I would have shooed her away with the back of my hand and flounced off in the direction of the leafy veranda at my colonial style hotel.

So how does one go from stingray swimming in the Caribbean whilst brimming with hopes and dreams of a new, exciting life ahead, to a complete start-over, where you keep an eye out to see if the local food stores have started accepting buttons yet? I think the elliptical statement ‘new job gone bad’ is suffice a mention to that subject! And despite my melancholic tinged nostalgia today while thinking back to the dreams, visions and hopes I had that day with the stingrays, I am much more at ease with my redefined sense of the future, despite now being both jobless and penniless.

I feel more like ‘me and I’ today; this is a brief statement yes, yet it’s heavily weighted with both clarity and self acceptance of the kind I could not have hoped to have 12 months ago.  That path, which started with the stingrays in Grand Cayman was fraught with so many obstacles, so much stress and insomnia that by September last year, I realised I may have taken the wrong path and the entire affair ended unceremoniously in November.

And that’s when I finally picked up a pen and began to write my book and the story I wanted to tell.

I may not be in the Caribbean today, but at least my life boat is now in the right sea.


A change is as good as a rest?

9 Apr

Five months ago, I was thrust into a process of change that caught me slightly unawares. It turned my whole life asunder and I have spent the best part of the last five months writing about how I actually got to this stage in my life. I am in the midst of a profound personal adjustment – the introvert pieces of which have been ticking over for five months – and now the external, logistical pieces are about to unfold. I am moving house and city.

Right now, I am sitting in my normal ‘writing spot’ but I am surrounded by packed bags and boxes, bare walls and basically, a complete mess! I am moving from a city I have lived in for 10 years to a completely unknown future. Where will I live, will I meet friends, will I find a job I like? These questions have been flying around my head all afternoon.  In some ways it’s a brave move, in other ways, maybe I need my head examined.

All I know is that I can’t stay ‘here’ anymore; the ‘here’ being the place I have been for almost five years – lost, aimless and utterly plan-less, fighting a losing battle, floating along  in the river of ‘De Nial’, stuck in limbo like the hamster on the spinning wheel who is spinning furiously with all his might, but getting no-where.

There are some major things I want to achieve before the end of 2012:

1. Detox my life from bad influences (people, places, unhealthy habits and thoughts)

– moving city is a big step on this one, others will require will-power and a gym membership

2. Complete my manuscript through to the re-editing phase, ready to be sent for a critique

– I have finished my first draft, so my manuscript is currently in the ‘stewing’ phase

3. Galvanize my five-year plan in terms of my desired new career

– this will be the toughest but I am now solely thinking about what suits me, what I enjoy and what I am good at, as opposed to the monetary value of a role. I have ear-marked some college courses and want to to really develop my writing portfolio.

4. Get to a happy, healthy place

– this will take some work, but if I focus on points 1-3, I hope I will achieve this eventually.

This new phase has been circling the outskirts of my life for a long time, but until now, I have not had the courage nor the confidence to admit the reality that things needed to change. Now is my chance to make a difference to my life, to break free of old routines and bad-habit circles and to begin  developing a version 2.0 of me. I will probably falter a few times but I hope my determination to change my life will follow through into my actions.

A fresh start, a new beginning, a blank page, I hope Budda is right – fingers crossed!


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