Productive changes in life

Gonçalo Gil Mata — №23 with Mike St. Pierre

Imagine the gods have decided that at the end of our lives, we’re granted a brand new one, but under one condition — you must have done everything in your reach to live as happily as possible. Settling for “half happy,” without a real effort to improve, would risk not having your life-contract renewed. Would you live the same way? Would you dare more? Would you fight some of your fears? And what about the way you look at the crossroads and the big changing moments of life?

To change is to break loose, and that hurts. It’s uncomfortable and unknown. You risk putting yourself in an even worse place than you may be. To quit your job, emigrate, start up a business, end a relationship or make a career break to travel around the globe — irreversible decisions that change your fate forever — can be frightening. It’s difficult not to focus on the things you might lose, rather than the benefits you might gain.

At the top of a bungee jumping platform, all buckled up and ready (and frozen with fear), a young lady says to the security technician, “Do you mind giving me a push? I really want to go, but can’t do it on my own!”

Inside us are two pilots who seem to have different missions: one wants to avoid pain, discomfort and regret at all costs; the other wants to enjoy life, be excited and breathe joy. One thinks that “half happy” is safer. The other one wants to play intensely and to ignore fouls. One sees a monster in every unknown step; the other imagines a fantastical magic world.

Rationalizing these dilemmas often results in paralysis and ignores an inner intelligence that knows and tells us (if only we’re willing to listen) which path is better; it knows whether or not it’s time to change. Sometimes, it is like a slightly aching tooth that aches less when it’s almost time to leave for the dentist’s. You might say, “Well, I don’t need to go after all, I’m fine.”

There are moments when life is like a comfortable train that is not actually going to your desired destination. You wait quite a while for the next station in order to get off safely, but the train never stops. It just slows down, from time to time, soon speeding up again. To change is to jump from a moving train, to take advantage of doubt, to listen to your heart. And while jumping from a moving train might really hurt, every wound heals eventually and all that’s left are scars and the good memories that are never lost. We grow up learning to notice those moments when the train slows down and it’s time to jump, to heal after hurting, and to know that the riskiest decision of all is imprisoning ourselves in a life that’s not headed towards our destiny.

We can avoid the dentist for a long time. But, would the Gods renew the contract in such a case?

Whichever side it goes, give your inner wisdom enough room, trust and … LET GO!

Photo: Flickr /CrazyFast CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Goncalo gil mata

Gonçalo Gil Mata

Gonçalo is an executive coach, speaker, and author who is dedicated to enhancing top productivity in individuals and organizations. He is the founder of MIND4TIME and author of the blog What’s The Trick (, where he writes about productivity tricks and brain mechanics.

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