Mark Twain once remaked "The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." In my days of coaching track and field, I had the exact same experience when trying to teach a group of athletes at the same time. 7 different athletes could hear the very same instructions and (based on their life experience, personalities, etc) come away with completely different interpretations. And it didn't matter how explicit and detailed I was in my directions. I sometimes felt like I was asking for their reaction to a poem or gut reaction to a piece of abstract art.
Recently a close friend of mine was faced a major upheaval in his life (the details of who, what happened, etc are unimportant). In the aftermath, confusion, and grieving he was consoled my many people and offered lots of advice as friends tend to do. One surprise happened as a particular piece of advice given really hit home - it was exactly the same advice he had doled out 2 years ago. He didn't even recognize the words, as if they had been uttered by a stranger rather than his former self.
Rome was born, some amazing advancements happened (unless you were the ones being conquered!), and then Rome fell. And this pattern was not an isolated historical event nor is it only relevant to countries. Very few things that expand worldwide can sustain themselves into perpetuity unless their foundation is strong, altruistic, and based on integrity (AA might be an example but even it is only a few decades old and might become irrelevant if society were to evolve enough to no longer have addictions).
The "self-image" is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.
— Maxwell Maltz
So you want to achieve that amazing new goal (lose 50 pounds, quit smoking, start that new hobby)? Great! But for many this is where the voices in the head creep in saying things like:
Depending on what fact source you believe, somewhere between 60 million (U.S. Obesity Trends - CDC) and 400 trillion Americans (ok, I made that one up) are obese. To combat this alleged problem (alleged only because I believe it's not the root cause and thus the real issue lies elsewhere), there is an entire industry of products, bills, books, etc to get people back to a 'normal' body mass index.
Playing a guitar is hard. It takes impeccable timing, hand eye coordination, discipline, and tons of practice. One incorrect hand position and a masterpiece can be off key or sound like a middle school band concert. And even getting to that point requires a lot of technical know-how (learning to read music, how to create chords, etc).
Playing guitar hero is easy. All the complex positions are reduced down to 4 buttons and a 'whammy' bar. Learning all the music notes (treble, bass, quarter notes, staccato) is replaced by a tele-prompter.
Quick Question. How many dimensions does a ball of yarn have? If you answered 3, your wrong! Or right... depending on the context.
A ball of yarn at an arms length has a visible height, width, and depth. However at 100 yards away, it appears at a dot (0 dimensions). 100 miles away you can't even see it so the question of it's dimensionality is moot.
I loved being a coach. There was something so rewarding at helping an athlete realize their true potential. I say realize because it was never fair or accurate to take credit for their success. It was always inherent within them to be excellent. My job (when I was doing it well), was to simply help them discover that which was already there. I also had a more subtle revelation that I want to share to you and to myself. That is, the best advice to myself I gave to others.
Change is not easy. Of course we'll never admit that because we generally associate change with small things like change of diet or change or clothing. But what about the really big changes that literally transform our lives? What about a change of career? A change in what state you live in? A change in your friends you've had for 20 years? A change in your attitude towards those countries/people/companies you do not like? Do you have the courage to change something that will require you to completely alter your life from this point forward?