liz murray

Only change is constant... or is it?

Recently I read 2 books with two very different (TRUE) stories but ending up with the same message: PEOPLE  CHANGE... and can change for the better. The first book: "BREAKING NIGHT - A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard"

The second: "The Imposter: How a Juvenile Criminal Succeeded in Business and Life"

The first book had me in a daze for a very long time! Elizabeth (Liz) Murray was an all A student in Harvard when not so long ago she was living in a dump in the Bronx (New York City) with her drug addicted parents! I highly recommend this book, it's a wonderful read... extremely humbling experience.

The second book had a similar effect... very intriguing... Kip Kreiling was pretty much everything a child/teenager could be for people to write him off as a 'nobody'... but how he turns that around and narrates it with so much honesty is very touching and powerful.

So bottom line is, both of these books bring out one common moral: PEOPLE CAN CHANGE  even if they have to start right from the beginning to make that happen.

This is all very optimistic and hopeful, but it got me thinking along the lines of change... By change I am not just referring to how somone went from rags to riches or from the most notorious criminal to a noble do-gooder... I am referring more so to personal growth and changing some inner most qualities that we are so accustomed to hold on to... and that defines us as our identities.

Sometimes sadly these identities we establish for ourselves may not always work to our advantage... but we still hold on to them. So is change really constant, like all the spiritual and philosophical books preach? Well, Liz Murray and Kip Kreiling did prove that it absolutely is! But I am sure most of us even after years hold on to our idiosyncracies... nothing changes.

So this makes me want to believe that change is constant if and only if we choose to push that comfort zone which is so cozy and safe. I remember in one chapter of Liz Murray's biography she mentions, how she passed high school to get to Harvard while living in her friends' apartment building hallways (without their parents knowing about it of course) and under their stair cases etc... and she says during those bitter cold New York winters waking up for a class or to finish her assignments were the most testing times... it was so easy to be her usual delinquent self (she used to skip school almost everyday during her elementary and middle school) and just cover herself with a warm blanket... but to wake up against all instincts and actually drag herself was pushing her comfort zone and heading towards that change which is claimed to be so constant.

Nothing comes for free... in the same book I read another phrase which will stay with me forever: LIFE REWARDS ACTION. Pushing that envelop is the action we are willing to take and that will turn things around, guaranteed!

But this is so much easier said than done. I catch myself everyday doing things so cozy and comfortable rather than fight it... why fight? I mean, life's not going to stop if I don't fight... but amazingly, when I was willing to push that ever inviting comfort zone the results were unparalled.

I have noticed this in the most trivial mundane aspects of everyday life. But no matter how hard it seems at the beginning, it becomes a habit to keep pushing harder and we being creatures of habit actually turn things around pretty quickly. But the magic lies in taking that first step. For me personally, dreaming about the reward is a great motivation to take that first baby step... for instance if I deliver this and get that perk/bonus I can finally buy that invaluable thing I have been eyeing for a while (or something to that effect).

I am sure these perks, motivations are different for different people, but bottom-line: change is only constant if we constantly try to change...for the better... is there any other kind!? :)