Stop Waiting to Change

If you’d rather listen than read:

My Day Four assignment for the “Blogging 101” course that I have enrolled in is to publish a post for my ideal audience member. Seeing as this was assigned five days ago, I’m definitely playing catch-up, but I am determined to make it!

Well, this got me thinking, who is my ideal audience member? Honestly, for me, I think it’s anyone who is willing to listen. Anyone who is looking to learn something new, to engage in new ways of thinking and experiencing the world, and anyone with an urge to add depth in their lives.

(Cue heartfelt letter)

To my reader,

I write not because I would like credit for ideas or fame for my writings.

I write because I hope to provide you with an insight or a thought or a brief peek inside my journey that can touch you and maybe even help you see the world differently.

However, no matter how powerful words can be, you are the only one who can determine how powerful they will be.

Ultimately, you are the only person that can get yourself to change.

It is so easy to fall into traps of thinking in which we excuse ourselves from the burden of having to change. We find creative ways to blame our shortcomings and our faults on our parents, our circumstances, our “wrong places” and “wrong times”. And yet, I find this strategy to be one that will only doom us until it is too late.

Let’s take a simple example. For the longest time, one of my biggest challenges was getting myself to meditate regularly.

I knew meditation was something that was important to me, a means for investing in myself and a way to relax after a stressful day, not to mention, a scientifically beneficial way for me to spend my time.

Here was this amazing thing that I wanted to do and I knew I should do. So then what was the problem? For some reason, I felt like I couldn’t do it.

As a college student, I felt constantly overwhelmed by my sporadic schedule, spontaneous outings with friends, and the never-ending “To Do” list of things that I would always be trying to finish.

Anytime that I acknowledged the thought about sitting in a corner to meditate, there would be at least 20 different things that would come to mind that were supposedly more urgent or deserving of my time. And thus, another day would go by without meditating.

For me, meditation began to symbolize an “ideal future” that we often create for ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously. It became a symbol for the kind of lifestyle that I was going to live “one day” in my stable adult future. I felt like meditating regularly just wasn’t feasible for a college schedule or student lifestyle, but I fantasized that the moment I had a steady job with set hours, I would be able to organize my life much better, and everything would just fall in place.

As is the case with many people, I had very realistic and reasonable excuses for why I just couldn’t make it happen. Homework assignments, late nights, lack of sleep, existential conversations, last-minute meetings, there was literally a million reasons why I couldn’t meditate.

That was until I began to realize something that shattered everything.

The older that I became, the more problems that I began to face, and the more I interacted with “adults”, the more I began to realize that in many ways, grown-ups haven’t always grown up. Unfortunately, I have seen adults throw tantrums, get angry, feel jealous, and do things that normally toddlers would receive a timeout for. Instead of receiving a timeout however, many adults just get to continue with their child-like behaviors. Furthermore, I have spent hours discussing personal dilemmas and issues with people decades older than me, only to realize that they themselves have been unable to resolve their own problems. While we may be able to gain wisdom from our experiences, how wise is an experienced adult who still can’t get their life together? I realized that the divide between being a teenager and turning into an adult was only an artificial one that I had created.

In turn, what creating this divide did is only perpetuate this misguiding feeling that I was suddenly going to change one day from being the somewhat lazy, perpetually tired, overstressed teenager that I was into the active, well-rounded, balanced adult that I wanted to be. I realized that the “ideal future” that I was fantasizing about in which I was a mature and refined adult with a stable life and everything in order was based on the naïve assumption that change would simply happen automatically as I grew older.

But it doesn’t.

You won’t learn how to cook until you decide to start cooking.

You won’t learn how to be more social until you begin to start conversations.

You won’t finish the books on your reading list until you decide to start reading them.

You won’t become healthier until you start eating well and/or exercising more.

You won’t become a blogger or author until you start writing.

You won’t start meditating regularly until you actually start to meditate.

You will always be able to find an excuse unless and until you decide to stop trying to find one.

So what did I do? I realized that I was never going to become the person I wanted to be until I took the necessary steps to change into that person.

I made an active effort to change. I stopped letting myself make excuses and I began to meditate everyday, no matter what. In the process, my whole life has changed completely in beautiful ways (another topic for another time).

It was over a year ago since I began to meditate every day, and I haven’t looked back since. I am still a college student with a sporadic schedule, late nights, and an endless “To-Do” list, and yet here I am, actually able to meditate every day. Simply because I started to try.

Ultimately, I believe that the lesson to learn is that it’s not enough just to idolize role models for their discipline, eagerness, generosity, or love – we need to actively incorporate those qualities into our lives. You are not just going to become more intelligent, more generous, more compassionate, more of a leader, or more humble until you actually try.

So, what are you waiting for?

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. Joyful2bee says:

    I love your enthusiasm and wisdom. You have some great advice and hard to knock reasons to get down and get things done and stop making excuses!! I want to follow your blog. I have so many to follow already but I will try to peak in every now and then to learn from you. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Suraj Sehgal says:

      Thank you so much! I appreciate your comment, I’m glad to see it resonate with people.

      Like

  2. tmisseghers says:

    A wonderful and inspiring post! Congratulations on taking that first step and your insights into the power active effort.

    By meditating every day, you have set yourself up for success in that “steady, set hours” job. Because it’s never set hours for long. There will be intrusions, doubts, deadlines.

    But you have already trained yourself to give yourself a daily gift that will help you keep your balance through your journey. Many “adults” never achieve this. Thank you for sharing, all the best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glimmerella says:

    I am still stuck in the thinking and visioning part of having a break or taking time to meditate.

    As soon as it pops into my head, so do other ideas and then I lose the interest to take that break.

    Like

    1. Suraj Sehgal says:

      Hi! Thank you sharing your struggle. I totally understand that. Especially because meditation seems like such a passive activity, many of us find it really hard to justify doing it, often because we feel guilty for not being more active with the time that we have. I think this is a common reason why so many people still struggle to get enough sleep, even though there have been countless studies showing how essential it is to our emotional, physical (and I’d also add spiritual) health – it just feels like it’s a waste of time.

      One thing I would add is that this idea that you need a break in order to meditate is also an artificial creation on our part. Where do breaks come from? No matter what day it is, whether it’s an official holiday or work day or something in between, we always have something that we could be doing. At the same time, somehow we always find ways to make time to get our work done, to eat, to stay up late watching movies, to get distracted on blogs or Netflix or whatever someone shares with us, etc..

      At the end of the day, if you wait for a break to just show up knocking on your door step saying, “Hey, you’ve got 3 hours of absolute free time, just spend 30 of them meditating”, you’re never going to get to where you want to be. Rather, you have become a much more active participant in actually *trying* and adjusting your schedule in order to make time. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Many times, simply the act of giving myself 30mins to meditate makes me feel more productive with the rest of the things I have to do.

      Hope that helps. Good luck, I wish you all the best on your quest!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glimmerella says:

        Thanks, I’ll try adding it into my routine. Hopefully, it works out 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. usfman says:

    Do you use music to meditate?
    College is stressful for sure.I like your 30 minute meditation idea.

    Like

    1. Suraj Sehgal says:

      Great question! So I really recommend looking at what is out there to figure out what works best for you. For me personally, I have benefitted greatly from Heartfulness meditation, which is completely free, and also has instructors (like myself!) who can help you get started and do weekly follow-up sessions in order for you to deepen your practice. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Like

  5. Anonymous says:

    I had the same problem (a deep part of me felt good whenever I tried to meditate or did yoga, but I never seemed to “find” time to do it). So I started a small support group – I got together with 2 friends and each of us promised to do at least 5 minutes (yes five, it was a big step!) of either {meditation or yoga or following intuition}, every 48 hours. And we would report whenever we did it. If we did not, we had to pay real money to the other people.

    The financial and social support are really powerful because they serve to motivate and inspire. I can proudly say that now I have a habit of meditating every 1-2 nights. After a while, it became such a normal part of my day, like brushing my teeth, that it doesn’t feel like a “chore” anymore. And I feel that it’s keeping me in tune with the other parts of my soul which otherwise get neglected in my normal state of busy busy busy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Suraj Sehgal says:

      Thank you for sharing! I love hearing about others’ experiences. Glad that it’s been working really well for you 🙂

      Like

  6. Jenna Laughlin says:

    I could not agree with you more on this topic- I feel like this is a huge concept that many people (including myself) fail to grasp. I totally relate to the feeling that all the things you want to do will be achievable “someday”. There is no point in waiting to live the life you want to live because the most important moment is the current moment. Thanks for the insight. Another blog post I have thoroughly enjoyed! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Angela Vujic says:

    And I am so grateful that as a volunteer instructor you’ve invited me along in your journey. Thank you Suraj, it means the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ec says:

    This is something I believe a lot of people relate to and something a lot of people forget to think about. I recognise myself a lot with the excuses “I am too busy”, “I have homework”, “I need to do something else first.” and even when I spoke to my counsellor about wanting to exercise but haven’t I realised I gave her excuses, trying to justify why I avoided it.

    There are a lot of things I want to do, but somehow I seem to forget that planning is not even the beginning of it. Everything starts when you realise that YOU have to do something rather than waiting. Such an inspiring post, wish I could always keep this is mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Suraj Sehgal says:

      Happy to hear that it resonated with you! Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. lifequest says:

    The most beautiful sound in universe is the silence ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sachin G says:

    I heard about your blog when i was watching Mamata Venkat’s Tedx talk about meditation . This is really a great article . As you mentioned
    ‘ you are the only person that can get yourself to change ‘. I feel this is 100% true. No matter we are young or old we should start the good things instead of waiting or believing it will happen by itself one day .
    Keep up your good work 🙂 These kinds of posts really help the persons like me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Neelam says:

    Am proud of you kiddo. Way to go. Good read

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Anonymous says:

    This article explains everything how we try to do meditation but how other things pulls us apart.. n we leave the entire stuff to be done in future wen we will get more synchronized… For student’s it’s like wen we will get stable job, schedule day , for officers it’s like wen we will finish our jobs , our responsibilities etc etc… but today never comes the more we grew the more we r piled up with never ending work load…. So here is the time we need this article… Thank you so much… I m also an heartfulness practitioner though I practice it but cant maintain it regularly.. this article had motivated me a lot n as we say once again than you brother .. keep up the good work😊

    Liked by 1 person

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