Each of us has things we’d like to change about ourselves. We might want to eat less or exercise more. We might want to be more assertive. We might want to read more or become experts in something. We might want to be more adventurous.
How many of our desired changes would fundamentally alter who we are? Are we evolving as people?
Evolution has a lot more nuance than change. Evolution means we are building on what came before. It means that exposure to some events, ideas, or changes in circumstance has resulted in our moving forward in a different way.
Many things can lead to our personal evolution. Examples include an epiphany we’ve had about how to make our lives better, a recognition of some truth that had previously evaded us, a wake-up call we’ve had about our health or our state of mind, or an experience we’ve had that alters our worldview.
The word “work” often has a negative connotation. We have to wake up every day and do something that we might not necessarily choose to do if we weren’t getting paid for it.
But if we think about our days as a series of moments, each special in its own way, we can transcend many of the negative aspects of working and change our attitude about what we do—from one of working to one of being—making the most out of each moment and realizing that each moment is special.
In our jobs, we may not always have the flexibility to work on the things we care about or enjoy, but we do have control over the person who shows up for the job. We should care about the work we do because we are the ones doing it. We are bringing our presence, intellect, energy, and personality to our jobs. We are giving of ourselves, and that, in and of itself, makes the work we do special.
Intensity is one of those qualities that can be hard to characterize. It can be positive or negative, depending on its source and how it manifests, and it can easily be misinterpreted as arrogance or impatience. Being intense can often have an impact on our effectiveness, and it is important to be aware of that. Intensity can be a part of someone’s everyday emotional makeup, or it can be something that comes up occasionally when the situation warrants it. Some people are never intense, while others seem to always be intense.
So what is intensity? To me, it’s a quality that allows us to cut to the chase; we get rid of anything that is not immediately relevant and get right to the heart of the matter. This can be interpreted literally or figuratively—intensity can manifest as actions or as an attitude. Through a sense of urgency, intensity can also result in increased efficiency. Intense people cut out the unnecessary and focus on what is required.
It may not always feel that way, but, if you think about it, everything you come across is part of who you are, part of your life experience, part of your own little empire.
From that perspective, we are all responsible for our interactions, our perceptions, our feelings, and our experiences; they are the elements of our realms, and we are the monarchs.
We can decide what kind of rulers we will be. We can be hands-on benevolent rulers who take responsibility for our realms and don’t abdicate our duty. Or we can be thoughtless rulers who don’t pay attention to the business of our realms and let others determine their fate.
Each of us has activities, things we do day in and day out, over and over. Our habits become part of our psyche—part of our identity.
A famous statistic from Maxwell Maltz said that it takes a minimum of 21 days of doing something to make it a habit. Subsequent research suggests that it takes more like a minimum of two months and up to eight months before an activity becomes ingrained. So, if we want an activity to become part of our lives, we know what we have to do to make it happen.
However, knowing this is easier than doing it. We have to be motivated to do something day in and day out, for that long. To get that kind of motivation, we must have a clear image of how and why those activities should be part of our lives. That means that we should be able to consistently fit them into our routines and recognize what they will contribute to our happiness, health, or fulfillment.