I hate change because change brings challenge. I love my comfort zone. When someone asks me to change, I usually feel bad because there is a real likelihood that I was wrong in the first place. Most of us don’t like being wrong. We all like to stay in our comfort zone.
I have always been a pretty messy person. When I was growing up I used to clean my room from time to time, but those times were infrequent and far between, often only a bi-annual event, which meant both my parents and I had to put up with my extended mess for a whole 6 months at a time, which was quite pathetic. To make matters worse I was lousy at making my bed.
Change the World by Making Your Bed
After marrying, my wife objected to my messy habits and of course I objected to her objections. Funny that I had never really thought of myself as messy before then. Marriage and children is a process of self-revelation which at time can become very painful.
As my children came along they began to leave their toys in the lounge room. I don’t know if you have ever walked on hard plastic Lego blocks in the middle of the night but it sure is painful. Of course I yelled at my children and told them how messy they were. Then I suddenly remembered the area on my side of the bed, littered with dirty clothes and other odds and sods.
My wife had been telling me to put my dirty clothes in the dirty washing basket for weeks, months, years even. I suddenly realized what a hypocrite I was and how I had to embrace positive change.
It took me over a decade to get my dirty clothes in that laundry basket in the corner of the bedroom. Eventually I succeeded but the process of change has been annoying. One of my strategies that I have used is to treat every attempt at the dirty clothes basket as a basketball shot in the hall of fame. It’s called ego stroking. Now I could ask my children to clean up their offending toys with impunity.
After all this I still had my Achilles heel. I hardly ever made the bed so the burden of this always fell to my wife. Which in hindsight was terribly unfair.
I think the change started after having heard Admiral William McRaven’s “Change the World by Making Your Bed” YouTube speech from The Art of Manliness blog. McRaven is not only an Admiral but a navy seal Admiral. The US Navy Seals are one of toughest special operation forces in the world. Some rate the Navy Seals number one in the world. These are the guys that took out Osama Bin Laden. These men are not to be messed with and they can all make their bed.
Admiral William McRaven points out that it only takes you a few minutes to make your bed first thing in the morning but it sets you up for success for the rest of the day. Making your bed gives you a sense of achievement which can flow on into your other activities for the rest of the day. See the full McRaven speech here. It is more than worth the watch.
I think a few months later Jordan Petersen rammed the point home in his talk on why the best way to start to change the world is to make your bed and clean your room. You see I am one of the world’s worst hypocrites. When people ask me what I am doing at any time of the day I often answer, “I am just trying to change the world.” I would often add jokingly, “But it keeps springing back the wrong way.” Who you might well ask is springing back the wrong way?’
However, this is the time when we must take a deep breath. Now is the time to adopt the 3 step process of positive change for both dads and kids through the Dads4Kids Positive Change Model.
Rule 1: Don’t get angry when people point out your inconsistencies – stay calm and collected and develop your own change strategy.
Rule 2: Look at your own need for change first. Remember what Don Bowak said, “It’s all about us . . . we must become the change we seek.”
Rule 3: When it comes to your children give them the direction they need. Then look for the moments when your children follow your directions and then give them lots of appreciation and praise.
Accentuate the positive and de-accentuate the negative. This Dads4Kids Positive Change Model for change works in every situation. As Thomas Carlyle said, “Change indeed is painful but ever needful.”
The good news is I am making the bed first thing in the morning 60% of the time and trying to lift the bar. It just goes to show you can teach an old dog new tricks.
To bring change we must become the change we seek. This is the only sort of change that lasts.