Change

The Summary:

Real, sustainable change is hard and requires daily work, focus and discipline.  How much can I change my life in 45 days and inspire others to do the same?

The Devil:

Popular media and myth perpetuate a skewed version of reality. It does not matter how many times you acknowledge that ‘you know the difference between a  movie and real life’ – you consume enough media it will alter your perceptions.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a simple test – how many times a day do you repeat a line from a sitcom or movie?  A piece of your daily reality is forever anchored to the content and media you consume. Who am I and how do I know this?  Simple – I caught nearly every reference in Ready Player One (the book and the movie) from personal experience; not Wikipedia.

And if I hear ‘that’s what she said’ or ‘phrasing’ or another bad Dr. Evil impression at work or a conference….my head will explode.

Remember the Betamax (Alamo)

First off – let me state my disappointment that spell check is telling me ‘betamax’ is not a word.  Anyway; my most formative years were spent consuming media.  I wasn’t quite raised by TV – but pretty close. Now before you go condemning my parents or ‘the time’ – sit down and take off your judgey-pants.  I ended up a productive member of society and able to connect with my fellow humans in real, tangible ways.

If you read enough books and watch enough movies; change becomes a simple recipe:

  1. 1-4 parts murder (depending on family size of the hero)
  2. 1 part training montage

And that’s it.  In every movie our hero has a tragic event that serves two purposes:

  1. Remove all ties to the world (as well as leverage for the bad guy, etc.)
  2. Motivation to change their lives (so they can exact their revenge, justice, etc.)

The first gives them the freedom to do the second. Think about it.  Find me one modern day hero (read that as successful movie/movie franchise) that doesn’t follow this formula:

  1. Luke Skywalker: Aunt and Uncle murdered by the Empire; training montage with Yoda.
  2. Every. Single. Marvel Hero. Except Hawkeye (and he leaves to go be with his family anyway). I’ll maybe give you that ant-guy but that’s it.
  3. Harry Potter
  4. Percy Jackson
  5. Every revenge film out there for the last 20 years (Taken, Peppermint, Equalizer, Man on Fire, several Westerns)
  6. Riddick
  7. Dexter (the serial killer, not the cartoon child genius)

And on and on.  It sets up an unrealistic model for how change happens.  Rarely does life afford us the clarity of a single moment upon which we can hang the next 6 month training/life altering montage and yet we are subtly married to this idea.  Likewise; we all have any number of connections we don’t wish to sever (I am fortunate to have family and friends in my life that I enjoy spending time with….simply disappearing will not do). And then there are any number of things that simply must get done every day/week/month.  There are bills to pay, kids to raise, errands to run, a house to maintain, etc., etc. Bruce Wayne, Riley North, Bryan Mills, Oliver Queen all disappeared to train up.

We all still play (and fantasize) how we would change our lives if we won the lottery; guidance counselors around the country continue to ask the million dollar question; and some of you still think that if your family was wiped out a-la Peppermint style you’d still disappear for 5 years and come back to kick tail and take names (don’t deny it – there’s a reason revenge films are successful; they strike a powerful chord). But the reality of the situation is that real, sustainable change is like building a plane in flight. Landing and taking a time out to build/repair/maintain is out of the option.  I rather like my family and friends and the life I’ve built.  But there is always room for improvement.  So the question remains: how much change can I create in 45 days and NOT lose that which is most important to me?

Ok – you’ve made your case. Now what?

The Challenge

Effectuate change across the board;

  1. Body: Fitness and nutrition
  2. Mind: Daily meditation
  3. Creativity: Make something everyday
  4. Leadership: Reflect, write and inform others
  5. Service: Give back to the community

That’s a lot (I know) but I’m convinced it is possible. How?  Glad you asked. Focus and discipline and the creation of a list of rules to follow….If I can do all that over 45 days then what else can I (or you) do?

So: Follow along. This may be the best transformation ever or a giant crash and burn…either way I’m sure it will make for a compelling story.

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