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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

5 Reasons to Follow Your Heart to Live the Life You Want

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5 Reasons to Follow Your Heart to Live the Life You Want

It’s never too late to start something you’ve always wanted to do. It doesn’t matter what you think is holding you back; let’s just call them what they are: excuses. It shouldn’t matter if other people are doing it already or if nobody is doing it at all. The only question that matters is whether or not doing it would make you happy—do you follow your heart and live the life you want?

Everyone has a different personality, and we’re all drawn to different things. And the more you allow yourself to pursue those things and follow your heart, the happier you will be in life.

However, you still have to be willing to work for them because dreams don’t come easily. If you want something, you have to earn it!

Here are 5 reasons why you need to follow your heart to live the life you want.

1. The World Needs Your Voice

We all see the world differently because we all came from different places, had different upbringings, overcame different challenges, etc. So, what you have to say and the way you say it is going to be different from the next person.

Your values, your core beliefs, and how you share that with the world are what set you apart. Those are the things about you that are going to make someone say, “yup. That’s them. They’re my person, and I really appreciate the work they’re bringing into the world.”

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Just imagine how many podcasts there are, not to mention they all have their own tribe of listeners. The same goes for YouTube, blogs, etc. That goes to show that we all consume content differently, too. So, if you’re a writer, write. If you’re a speaker, speak. If you’re a photographer, take photographs.

We need to stop becoming more like others and start being more of ourselves.

2. People Want Your Content

There will always be people who love to consume more than they want to create because creating something of your own is hard. Even when it’s something as simple as writing an Instagram caption or a blog post, people are hesitant to create their own content because they wonder if anyone is going to find it helpful, if they’re adding more value to the world or just more noise, or if they’re writing is any good.

It’s scary to put yourself out there for the world to judge. It’s more comfortable to judge others for putting themselves out there than it is to put yourself out there to potentially be judged.

But do it anyway. If you want to paint, then paint. If you want to start a DIY blog, start a DIY blog. Express yourself. Share your story with the world. Be vulnerable. The world needs more of it. So, be brave and follow your heart.

3. You Know You Want This

I’ve always wanted to have a blog, and I’ve always wanted to work at a magazine company and/or start my own magazine. While I have not worked at a magazine company yet, I choose to do the other two this year.

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I started creating content about 3 years ago, and the feeling was amazing. I’m so glad I did it because if I didn’t, I would still be playing the “what if” game.

But now, I get to play the “what’s next?” game, and it’s so much better. And trust me when I say this journey hasn’t been easy. There have been (and still are) so many times when I cringe and think, “I did that? Is that good enough?” and the good old’ “Who do I think I am to do this? What if someone reveals what a fraud I am one day?”

But how will you get better if you never try or if you don’t at least start? Sure, you might fail and fall flat on your face. But you can always, always get up again and keep going. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be present and consistent.

You have to ride the rollercoaster and overcome the challenges in the way. No path to success is completely smooth. Just follow your heart, and you’ll be ready to face the challenges along the way.

4. It’s a Whole New World

If I never started to follow my heart, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet some of the most amazing people that I’ve met in my life.

If I didn’t follow my heart, I wouldn’t have pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have met people who helped me push myself out of my comfort zone, and I would’ve never known how truly encouraging and supportive the people around me are—and I’m so grateful for every one of them.

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If it weren’t for me taking a leap of faith and starting, I wouldn’t have realized how hard other people have worked to make their dreams come true. I would’ve continued chalking it up to “luck.” I would’ve continued making excuses, and I wouldn’t be the type of person to take personal accountability for my actions. As harsh as it may sound, I would still be like the rest of the world.

But now, I have so many more ideas and projects I want to do to build on what I’ve already accomplished. I want to start a podcast and maybe a book.

There is so, so much out there for you—but you have to be willing to show up, take the first step, and keep going. It’s not enough to just start. You have to continue what you started, too. It’s not easy to take that first step, but it’s even tougher to keep stepping when things get tough.

But if you’re strong and follow your heart, you will open yourself up to an entirely new and exciting world.

5. You Will Inspire Others

When you share your story with others, it sends a message. It shows other people what’s possible when they apply the lessons to themselves. And if that doesn’t seem inspiring, then I don’t know what is.

Whenever I start to wonder if this journey is for me, I listen to podcasts, read books, and watch interviews. These things remind me that the people I admire the most did not get to where they are overnight or even in a matter of months. It took them years, and they’re still showing up to this day.

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They weren’t the person they are today when they first started, just like I’m not going to be the person I am today five years or five months from now.

We’re always growing and learning along the way, so share your story with others because regardless of where you are in your journey, someone out there needs to hear it. Someone out there wants to hear it, so share it with them. Inspire others, and you’ll also end up inspiring yourself.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to be perfect or feel ready to start, you just have to follow your heart and be willing to put yourself out there.—and continue putting yourself out there.

Give yourself permission to be imperfect, flawed, messy, and beautiful. Give yourself space to learn, fall, make mistakes, and do better. Give yourself credit where credit is due and celebrate your wins along the way.

Find and surround yourself with people who support you and who understand your journey—ideally with people who are on the same journey as you, so you can encourage each other to keep going. Friends who grow together stay together.

So, get out there and follow your heart. Find out where it’s going to take you!

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Featured photo credit: Aziz Acharki via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

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How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. Some people quit smoking a thousand times in their lives! Everyone knows someone with this mindset.

But this type of change is superficial. It doesn’t last. For real, lasting change to take place, we need to consider the quadrants of change.

Real change, the change that is fundamental, consistent, and longitudinal (lasting over time) has to happen in four quadrants of your life.

It doesn’t have to be quitting smoking; it can be any habit you want to break — drinking, biting your nails, overeating, playing video games, shopping, and more.

Most experts focus on only one area of change, some focus on two areas, but almost none focus on all four quadrants of change. That’s why much of change management fails.

Whether it is in the personal life of a single individual through actions and habits, or in a corporate environment, regarding the way they conduct their business, current change management strategies are lacking.

It all stems from ignoring at least one part of the equation.

So, today, we will cover all four quadrants of change and learn the formula for how to change fundamentally and never go back to your “old self.”

A word of warning: this is simple to do, but it’s not easy. Anyone who tells you that change is easy is either trying to sell you something, or they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Those who want an overnight solution have left the article now, so that leaves you, me, and the real process of change.

The Four Quadrants of Change

There are four areas, or quadrants, in which you need to make a change in order for it to stick. If you miss or ignore a single one of these, your change won’t stick, and you will go back to your previous behavior.

The four quadrants are:

  1. Internal individual – mindset
  2. External individual – behavior
  3. Internal collective – culture/support system
  4. External collective – laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

All four of these quadrants of change may sound like they could carry change all by themselves, but they can’t. So, be sure to implement your change in all four quadrants. Otherwise, it will all be in vain.

First Quadrant — Internal Individual

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of an individual, and it concerns itself with the mindset of a person.

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Our actions stem from our thoughts (most of the time), and if we change our mindset toward something, we will begin to process of changing the way we act.

People who use the law of attraction fall into this category, where they’ve recognized the strength of thoughts and how they make us change ourselves.

Even Lao Tzu had a great saying regarding this:

“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” [1]

One of the most impactful ways you can make a change in this quadrant is to implement what James Clear calls identity-based habits. [2]

Instead of prioritizing the outcome of a change (ex.: I want to lose 20 pounds), you prioritize your identity as a person (I want to become/remain a healthy person).

Here are a couple of examples for you to see the strength of this kind of resolution:

I want to watch many movies = I am a cinema lover
I want to clean my apartment = I am a clean person
I want to harvest my crops = I am a harvester (farmer)
I want to swim = I am a swimmer

This quadrant is about changing the identity you attach to a certain action. Once you re-frame your thinking in this way, you will have completed the first of the quadrants of change.

Second Quadrant — External Individual

This quadrant focuses on the external world of an individual and concerns itself with the behavior of a person.

This is where people like Darren Hardy, the author of the Compound Effect reside. Hardy is about doing small, consistent actions that will create change in the long run (the compound effect).

You want to lose 30 pounds? Start by eating just 150 calories (approximately two slices of bread) less a day, and in two and a half years, you will have lost 30 pounds.

The same rules apply to business, investing, sports, and multiple other areas. Small, consistent actions can create big changes.

This works — I’ve read 20 extra pages a day for the past two years, and it accumulated into 90 books read in two years. [3]

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Here, you have two ways of dealing with change behaviorally: negative environmental design and positive environmental design.

Negative Environmental Design

This is when you eliminate the things from your environment that revert you to the old behavior. If you want to stop eating ice cream, you don’t keep it in your freezer.

If you want to stop watching TV, you remove the batteries from the remote and put them on the other side of the house (it works!).

Positive Environmental Design

This is when you put the things that you want to do withing reach — literally!

You want to learn how to play guitar? Put your guitar right next to your sofa. You want to head to the gym? Put the gym clothes in a backpack and put it on top of your shoes.

You want to read more books? Have a book on your nightstand, your kitchen table, and on the sofa.

You can even combine this last trick with my early advice about removing the batteries from your remote control, combining the negative and positive environmental designs for maximum effect.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

If you just change your behavior and leave your intentions (thoughts) intact, your discipline will fail you and the real change won’t happen.

You will simply revert back to the previous behavior because you haven’t changed the fundamental root of why this problem occurs in the first place.

That is why you need to create change both in the first quadrant (internal individual — mindset) and the second quadrant (external individual — behavior). These quadrants of change are two sides of the same coin.

Most change management would stop here, and that’s why most change management fails.

No matter how much you focus on yourself, there are things that affect our lives that are happening outside of us. That is the focus of the two remaining quadrants.

Third Quadrant — Internal Collective

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the culture of that collective.

There are two different distinctions here: the Inner Ring and the Outer Ring.

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The Inner Ring

These are your friends and your family. The Inner Ring is the place where the social and cultural norms of your friends and family rule.

So, if everyone in your family is overweight and every lunch is 1,000 calories per person, then you can say goodbye to your idea of becoming healthy.

In this case, the culture of your group, the inner norms that guide the decisions, actions, thoughts, ideas, and patterns of behaviors are all focused on eating as much as possible. [4]

You need to have the support of your Inner Ring if you want to achieve change. If you don’t have this support, the the best way to proceed is by either changing your entire Inner Ring or distancing yourself from it.

Beware — most Inner Rings won’t accept the fact that you want to change and will undermine you on many occasions — some out of habit, some due to jealousy, and some because supporting you would mean that they have to change, too.

You don’t have to cut ties with people, but you can consciously decide to spend less time with them.

The Outer Ring

The Outer Ring consists of the culture of your company, community, county, region, and country. For example, it’s quite hard to be an open-minded person in North Nigeria, no matter how you, your friends, and your family think.

The Outer Ring is the reason why young people move to the places that share their value systems instead of staying in their current city, county, or country.

Sometimes, you need to change your Outer Ring as well because its culture is preventing you from changing.

I see this every single day in my country, where the culture can be so toxic that it doesn’t matter how great of a job you have or how great your life currently looks — the culture will change you, inch by inch, until you become like it.

Fourth Quadrant — External Collective

This quadrant focuses on the external world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the systems, teams, laws, and rules of that collective.

This quadrant is about the external manifestations of the collective culture. If the majority of the environment thinks in a certain way, they will create institutions that will implement that way of thinking.

The same rules apply to companies.

One example for companies would be those managers who think that employees are lazy, lack responsibility, and need constant supervision (or what is called Theory X in management).

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Then, those managers implement systems that reflect that kind of culture– no flexible work hours, strict rules about logging work, no remote work, etc.

Your thoughts, however, may be different. You might believe that people want responsibility, that they are capable of self-direction, that they can make good decisions, and that managers don’t need to stand on their necks if they want something done (this is called Theory Y in management).

Then, you would want to have flexible working hours, different ways of measuring your productivity (for example, not time on the job but work produced), and remote work, if possible for your profession.

This is when you enter into a conflict with the external collective quadrant. Here, you have four options: leave, persevere, neglect, and voice.

Leave

You can simply leave the company/organization/community/country and go to a different place. Most people decide to do this.

Persevere

This is when you see that the situation isn’t good, but you decide to stick at it and wait for the perfect time (or position) where you can implement change.

Neglect

This is where you give up on the change you want to see and just go with the flow, doing the minimal work necessary to keep the status quo.

These are the people who are disengaged at work and are doing just the bare minimum necessary (which, in the U.S. is around 65% of the workforce).

I did this only once, and it’s probably the only thing I regret doing in my life.

Voice

This is where you actively work on changing the situation, and the people in charge know that you want to create a change.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your company, community, or your country; you are actively calling for a change and will not stop until it’s implemented.

Putting It All Together

When you take it all into account, change is simple, in theory, but it isn’t easy to execute. It takes work in all four quadrants:

  1. Internal individual — mindset
  2. External individual — behavior
  3. Internal collective — culture/support system
  4. External collective — laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

Some will require more work, some less, but you will need to create a change in all four of them.

But don’t let that discourage you because change is possible, and many people have done this. The best time to start changing was yesterday, but the second best time is today.

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Featured photo credit: Djim Loic via unsplash.com

Reference

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