Below is a slightly revised version of a blog I posted on the college psychology blog last week. It’s http://psychcentral.wordpress.com in case you want to check it out. Anyway, the students seem to have really enjoyed it, and so I thought I’d redo it for one of my personal blogs. The post is about change and how difficult it can be. Many people would rather whine or wallow in self-pity than take steps to change their lives, but as 2009 comes to an end, maybe now’s a good time for a step forward.
I’ve been listening to 50 Self-Help Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon in my travels back and forth to work every day, and I’ve picked up tons of useful information. While time prohibits my going into more than just a cursory look at these classics, today I thought I’d briefly bring up the Bible. Yep, the Bible. Although I often turn to the scriptures for solace, inspiration, wisdom, and guidance, I haven’t really thought of the Bible as a “self-help” book like Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking or Allen’s As a Man Thinketh.
Remember the Old Testament story about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt? It’s one of the most well-known stories in the Bible, maybe because of Charlton Heston’s starring role in The Ten Commandments. Anyway, according to Butler-Bowdon, one of the things we can learn from the exodus from Egypt for the Promised Land is that people can change their lives. They don’t have to live in servitude, getting beaten by guards or building pyramids in the hot sun. In the book, Butler-Bowdon says that the exodus is the prototype for all social change, including the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The moment I read that, a light switch came on as I thought, “Oh yeah, I can see that.” I can also see that because of Martin Luther King and others of that decade, many changes were set in motion that continue to have influence today.
Whether group or individual, people can walk right through the Red Sea towards a better life. If Rosa Parks had given up her seat, millions of people might still be stuck in Egypt or its equivalent. You, like Rosa and other brave souls, might have to wander around in the desert for a while, but hopefully it won’t be for 40 years. You might even have to sacrifice some security and comforts of life while subsisting on manna from heaven, figuratively speaking.
Still, change is possible. The life you’re living at this moment can improve for the better IF you are willing to take the first step. It might not be easy, but do you want to spend the rest of your life building someone else’s pyramids and living in slavery?