Break the Cycle

My random thought today is about change.

Good change.  We all want it.

We want others to change to make the world a better place.  And especially during these times, we want it for our leaders and our country.

But no matter how hard we work at bringing about positive change, no matter how big and lofty one’s advocacies are, no matter how much influence we have on our peers, friends, and family, change has to start with us.   Well, this is a given more than an insight.

But the question remains, given a lot of changes that can be done, how do we start?  How do we go about it?

My take on it — we can start by deciding to break the cycle that keeps things the way they are.  And starting to introduce new behaviors, habits, action plans, and best practices.  Starting with us.  Elevate yourself to a new level.

Have you heard of these vicious cycles?  Here are a  few examples I have heard many times over from several people…

  • My officemate deals with me unprofessionally, rudely, squeals on me unjustly, spreads rumors about me.  People talk behind my back.  No matter how tempting it is to return the same treatment, you can break the cycle.  Confront the person assertively (the good news: you don’t need to be a doormat!).  But treat the person professionally, assertively, with respect.  Break the cycle of grudges.
  • My boss treats me like *bleep* *bleep*.  My boss plays favorites.  I eventually get promoted.  Payback time with my new subordinates.  You can break the cycle.  You can change the culture of your organization — and it starts with you.
  • Family: I’m not happy with my family environment.  My folks are never affectionate and expressive.  They are raising me with an iron fist.  They don’t listen to me.  And even if I say I won’t, I’ll probably raise my future kids this way.  You can break the cycle.  Make the decision.  Being a better parent and being a better child are your best and just revenge.
  • Every dog for himself!  Eat or be eaten!  Everyone is just selfish!  I’m protecting my turf!  You can break the cycle.  Have you tried genuine goodness, which is contagious?  Yes, you can have a warm, family atmosphere in your organization.  Break the cycle by being the first member of that family.
  • The cycle of doubt: All marriages and relationships will never last.  My friends — they thought they found true love but were wrong all along.  They all ended up separated.  Everyone is expected to be unfaithful (come on, really now!).  You can break the cycle.  Your relationship is how you define it, live it, persevere in it with your significant other.  The trends of times and the lives of people will not determine your happiness.
  • I’m not happy with work.  I am not given breaks.  I am not getting promoted.  I am not able to pay my bills.  I could not move out because this is the only thing I am skilled at doing — therefore I am forced to stay against my will.  You can break the cycle.  You know more than you think.  Don’t let others determine your success. Don’t leave your fate to chance.  Make a decision.  Define success according to your own terms.  Go get a better job! Go for it.
  • I’m not raising the issue because nothing will be done anyway.  You can break the cycle.  Why wait for others to act when you can take initiative?  We don’t lose anything when go the extra mile to do good.
  • Our country is hopeless.  I’ve lost all hope.    The next president will fail, will be corrupt.  And the same vicious cycle goes again.  So let’s just migrate!  We can break the cycle.  Vote for the right candidates.  Vote for change.  Vote to break the cycle.  Guard the vote.  And continue being involved and making your voice heard because we, ordinary individuals, are a critical part of good governance.  Change doesn’t end when we cast our vote on May 10.  May 10 is only the beginning.

As I write this, I ask myself: am I looking at the world with rose-colored glasses?  Surely, change can’t be that easy.  Change cannot happen with simplistic questions and generalizations.

But change can happen one day at a time, slowly but surely, if each person gives his small share each day.  And yes, big changes can happen by paying attention to the little things.

Change starts with a person believing that he or she can break the cycle and by deciding to break it.  By breaking the cycle, we can make change happen.

As for me, let me start by breaking the cycle of my doubts and by writing about it.

Which cycle will you break today?

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