It is that time of year when we look back and assess the last year, and recommit to changing the usual list of things we are unhappy with within ourselves. I resolve to “lose weight”, “stress less” “find a better job” etc. The list of resolutions typically is full of goals that will never be met and are easily broken and forgotten. We make a resolution to eat healthy, and as the words come out of our mouths we reach for that second cookie. It seems that we love to set up ourselves up for failure. We set out these unrealistic resolutions because we intrinsically know we won’t reach them, because the same thinking that stopped us last time will stop us again this time.
I was never much for resolutions because of this insane cycle. It did not appeal to me to psyche myself up for failure, because I knew whatever went on my list would not be on it by March. It is just the way life works. The distractions are too great. So this year I have decided to replace the tradition of resolutions with defining a motto to live by for the year. A phrase so potent that whenever I call upon it, I will be reminded of what really matters to me and therefore, make better choices and take better action.
The other day at the gym I picked up Fortune Magazine who declared Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple, the CEO of the decade. The magazine declared the fact that Jobs revolutionized not only the computer industry but also the music industry (itunes) and the movie industry (Pixar) while surviving two life altering diseases, nothing short of awesome. It went on to examine how Apple is Jobs and Jobs is Apple. Apple is what it is because Jobs is who he is. Now this inspired me. It made me think of all the individuals who, because of who they ARE change the world. As they define themselves they define the world around them. We actually all do this. The world around us is what it is because of what we create it to be through our thoughts, beliefs and actions. It just seems to me most of us don’t think outside of the limits of our own environments to really be able to impact the world.
Many, many years ago, before the iphone, before the Apple comeback, there used to be a huge vertical billboard on Sunset Blvd. in LA. It was a photo of John Lennon and at the bottom a small picture of a rainbow colored, half eaten apple with two words to the right of the apple “Think Different”. It was part of Apple’s ad campaign that featured change agents of our planet, like Lennon, Gandhi, Graham, Picasso, etc. These ads had nothing to do with technology or Apple’s products. At the time, Apple was off the radar. But as the article explained Jobs was responsible for the campaign. It was a charge. Apple had the courage. It was going to think different and therefore change the world.
So this year in 2010, I am resolving to “Think Different”~to use the power of my mind to radically change my every day and therefore my world. It seems everything that I would want to make resolutions about can be changed with this simple phrase. If I want to create a life that I don’t have now, I need to fill my mind not with the same thoughts I have now, I need to “Think Different”. Looking back over the past year, I have to admit my mind was often caught in sticky thoughts. I had too many thoughts of my past, the hurts, the cants, the justifications of why things are a certain way, guilty thoughts, shame thoughts, thoughts that were definitely not different and definitely not taking me into a different tomorrow. So instead of figuring out how exactly my life is going to change, I resolve to think different to let a different life find me.
If I want to lose weight, I need to think differently about why I might be holding on to the weight or what keeps me from exercising. For example in the past perhaps I used to think I have no choice, “I have to work so I can’t exercise.” I can change my statement to “I have to work and I want to exercise”. All of a sudden I have a choice, and now I can rearrange my day to allow both to happen successfully. When you start noticing your thoughts, it is almost amazing how much of them are related to past events, things that cannot be changed, or have absolutely nothing to do with you. By noticing how little time you are actually thinking about the things that bring you personal enjoyment, you can begin to actively change the landscape of your mind. As you do this you begin to practice pulling out weeds that are literally sucking the life out of you and replace them with seeds of sunflowers.
If I want to have a different world around me and I want to be different, I first need to start with my mind and “Think Different”. I am now so seriously committed to this that every time an unproductive, unsupportive, negative or old stupid thought enters my mind I resolve to “Think Different.” As I do this, I can actually sense an inner smile that makes the things that seemed impossible somehow plausible.
So find your power phrase. Create a personal slogan. Make sure it resonates with you and holds the power of a high school cheer at homecoming. Let who you truly are be what the world gets to see and experience. If we all committed to this, the world would be a totally different place by the end of 2010.