Many have made the mistake of trying to change circumstances rather than changing themselves; this flawed tactic is sometimes called the “geographic cure.” My 35-year career as a real estate office manager was like a masters course in human behavior. Real estate agents are a very mobile sales force: every year a high percentage of agents change brokers. Their business falls off due to the economy, rising interest rates, too many bad hair days, a sudden interest in daytime soaps, early-onset narcolepsy or whatever, so they decide that changing where they work will somehow energize them—“take my career to the next level.”
You probably know someone who moves from job to job, career to career, but never seems to experience an increase in their income or sense of accomplishment. The problem with changing where they work, where they live, or what career they pursue is that it prevents them from effecting real, lasting change—change that can only come from within. Thus the saying:
“No Matter Where You Go, There You Are.” —The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
You can’t escape yourself by running. You can change your circumstances, your location, your profession, your friends, but wherever you go and whatever you do, there you are. And if you are not willing to change, to adapt, to learn, no matter where you go, you will do whatever it takes to perpetuate the status quo, replicate your old environment, no matter how dysfunctional.
Dr. Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, once had a man who lived on the East Coast ask him, “What are people like in California?” To which Dr. Carlson responded, “What are people like in New York?” The man answered, “They’re greedy and selfish.” Dr. Carlson told the man that he would probably find the people in California also to be greedy and selfish. Why? Our judgments, beliefs, perceptions, and habits do not change just because of a change in location or circumstance—we carry them with us.
Okay, if you’re not yet convinced that change must come from within, here are the words of some people you may have heard of:
Gandhi said: “If you choose to change your world, begin with yourself.” “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
And from Neville Goddard (1905-1972), a prophet, profoundly influential teacher and author: “Good news! If you don’t like what you’re manifesting, you can change your mind about who you are.”
Not yet convinced? Let’s try Einstein—scientist, spiritualist, and well-known brilliant guy: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Let’s add some international flavor since WE ARE A COUNTRY OF IMMIGRANTS! This is from the Persian poet, Rumi: “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Okay, one more, since we are trying to improve relations with Russia, from Tolstoy: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Deciding what you want out of life is essential. But you will only achieve your desires when they are congruent with who you think you are (your self-concept). Changing your world is an inside job.