Change is a very scary entity for many individuals. It can be terrifying, even debilitating, for us to identify the habits, routines and rituals that are no longer serving our highest good, and then proceed to change them. Why is that?
I believe it’s a lot like the initial introduction to Algebra. Seeing an unknown variable in an equation can be rather intimidating at first. When an equation is consistent, containing a set of numerical values, we can determine the answer using logic and a set of basic mathematical skills such as addition or subtraction to come to a conclusion. We can confidently assume a solution because we’ve had success in previous experiences using novice principles, and the answer is often rather simple- black and white, if you will. In many instances, we can even count on our fingers to check our work.
Conversely, with algebra, we can’t be sure of our success until after we’ve completed the equation. We have to substitute the unknown variable with a determined solution to know whether or not we’ve concluded correctly throughout. Furthermore, when we realize we went wrong somewhere along the way, we find ourselves having to start from the beginning, slowly working through the problem again with more precision, greater attention to detail, and a little more wisdom than when we began the first time.
Likewise, when substituting variables in our lives, we cannot be sure we’ve made the right choice until we’ve implemented the solution and checked our work. We can make educated calculations, use deductive reasoning, and even apply the process of elimination to come to a decision, but until we insert a value in place of our metaphorical x, we just can’t know for certain we took the right steps. To complicate matters further, life often has many variables that may require substitution, with countless steps we can take, and a myriad of outcomes we could potentially achieve. How do we identify which variables need a substitute? How can we be confident we’re taking all the right steps, and doing so in the right order? And how do we backtrack when we’ve found ourselves defeated, with the wrong solution, having to work our way through the equation of life once more?
THIS is where it can get tricky, considering life is significantly multifaceted compared to even the most complex mathematical equations. The most important thing to remember about solving an Algebraic equation is that you must isolate the variable to either side of the equals sign. This is only possible if you divide the problem into smaller equations, with simpler operations, and solve it one step at a time.
Life comes at us very quickly, and it’s rare we have an abundance of time to really map out the path we’re going to take to get where we’re trying to go. So often, we find ourselves starting back at square one, feeling defeated that we didn’t get it right this time. But consider this… you probably know exactly where you went wrong. You probably know precisely which steps of the equation need a little more fine-tuning. Even better yet, it was probably a minor error you overlooked because you were in a hurry. You may find yourself heading back to the drawing board, but don’t underestimate the wisdom you gained by working through it once, as you are much less likely to make the same mistakes this time around. Hell, you’ll probably even see the pitfall coming before you stumble on it! The point is, you just have to start somewhere in order to isolate the variable.
You must break the complexity of your life down into smaller, simpler equations so you can more easily identify which variables you need to substitute to move forward. Life may be a bit complex, but change is the only constant in its’ equation, and If we would’ve avoided Algebraic equations altogether, then we probably wouldn’t have graduated high school. Well, I’m here to inform you that avoiding necessary changes in your life brings a far worse fate.
As for algebra, I was a straight A student in school… but I certainly failed my fair share of quizzes, and only scored moderately on tests. I blamed it on test anxiety, ha! But I always received a final grade of A in Math. Not because I always took the right steps, and not because I spent an unrealistic amount of time or attention on the equations. I succeeded because I worked my ass off, I always asked for extra credit, I (almost) always did my homework, and I never gave up. Apply these habits to implementing change in your life, and I assure you that every step you take will get you closer to the correct solution.