Change is Invevitable. Progress is Optional

February 28, 2017

Everytime I reread that quote, my mind jumps, and I am reminded of the many social media posts I see of past friends. The friends, teammates and coworkers who at some point, I enjoyed a close friendship with.

However, from seeing the posts of either elevated success or dismal situations, I realize that since then, I have sharply diverged from our once common ideals. Our shared past and approach on life, is distinctly different now. Our situations, roles, and thoughts sharply contrasting with one another, so much so, it's almost too hard to believe we were even friends at all.

When I see the posts of past friends who I once felt similar to, now succeding and exceling at being far more interesting then myself, I feel this sharp emotion which I can only describe as a "kick in the pants".

Its not envy,pique, or even jealousy, for I feel happy and I enjoy seeing their successes pop up on my social media feeds.

And the emotions are not negative either. As I am never irritated, from seeing how these friends choose better paths which led them to far greater progress than my own.

What I personally feel, surfaces in either one of two reactions. Either A, I become motivated to join their progress and tackle the underlying issues preventing me from enjoying the same success. Or B, I think to myself that I too, I have changed, just in different ways, and I shouldnt compare myself to them given how different our situations are.

This line of thinking is either motivating if reaction A. Or comforting as in reaction B.But you might say, surely you expereince sometimes more pessimistic reactions, no one can be optimisitic like that all the time. And you would be right for sometimes their is a different, more subtle and insidious line of thinking which I fall into.

Its is my reaction C, where I retreat into negative thought patterns and think that they have something which allows them to be different. Some secrect or piece of knowledge that I lack. I dont feel motivated as in my reaction A, nor do I seek out alternative means of comparison as in my reaction B. No, what I do is succumb to feeling trapped by my iniablity to change and improve. This line of thinking is probably one of the most harmful in my goal of improving my happines, and not to sound even more pessimistic, I don't yet have an internal answer when I begin to feel reaction C.

Matthew Clemens © 2022