What is a catalyst?
A catalyst is something that enables a change that would otherwise not have happened. It can be an event, or someone’s words, or a book or a movie that causes you to change your life in some way.
Let’s say a man gets fired because he is always late for work. Losing his job may be a catalyst for him. The event of getting fired caused him to make a change in how he behaves in life and to change his habit of being always late.
Change is always hard. It’s easier to do what you’ve always done. Changing also means you are outside your comfort zone. People find it scary to move outside of what they find familiar. Often they won’t go through change without prompting.
When people take a survey with the simple question “Are you happy with your life?” they get more “no” answers than “yes”. Are you perhaps one of those people who are not happy with their lives? Yet, day in and day out, you don’t do anything to change that.
The problem may be that you don’t know how to change it. You don’t understand how you can find a catalyst to motivate and inspire you towards the life you desire.
Sometimes there is a catalyst but you focus on the ordinary and you miss it completely. You must focus on seeing opportunities to raise yourself to a different level of success.
Take time to look over your life as it is now. What do you think about it?
Think about the people in your life and your relationships with them. Is it everything you wanted it to be and hoped for? What about your finances? Do you wish things could be different? What about your job? Are you, like so many others, miserable in your job? Like them, you stay there year after year, getting more miserable as you grow older.
If you are unhappy with any area of your life and you do nothing about it, you'll still be unhappy a year from now. Apart from still unhappy, you will lose time and you will miss opportunities to make changes. If you want more out of life, then you need to take steps to make changes.
Physical signs, for instance feeling a knot in your stomach, are always a clue something is wrong. You must address the cause. Stress will build up if you ignore physical signs from your body. This will lead to further health complications.
Life is not meant to be something that’s just endured. It’s meant to be exciting. Life is an adventure only if you decide that it is.
One thing all people have in common is that we experience roadblocks or obstacles to get what we desire in life. The truth is nothing in life is handed to us on a silver platter - we have to overcome obstacles.
The difference is how people react to roadblocks. Some get motivated to make changes to overcome them, while others get stopped in their tracks.
Fear is the most common and biggest roadblock. Some people stop right in their tracks because they fear change.
Sometimes people are in a bad job that’s killing them, but they don’t leave. They fear they won’t find another job or they fear they won't fit in with a new work environment.
Fear is often driven by “what if” scenarios. What if this doesn’t happen? What if that doesn’t work out? Most of these “what if” scenarios never happen.
Don’t allow fear to keep you stuck where you are and watch life passes you by. Get courage and focus on what a leap of faith will bring you.
A lack of knowledge is another big roadblock that stops people from change.
When you don’t know how to make changes it is hard to make them. Maybe you want to go into a new area that lies beyond your current knowledge.
Whatever you don’t know, you can learn. There are so many good educational resources you can use as a catalyst for change. Always try to reach new levels of understanding.
Another roadblock that keeps people stuck is they believe they don’t have time to make the effort. They are too busy for the extra effort. To bring about any change requires effort and many people don’t want to make the effort – which is a big mistake.
Thinking like this will keep you stuck in a job you hate. Your messy finances will stay messy and stress you. You will remain in the dead-end relationship that brings you very little joy. Your health will remain in the downward spiral.
Better time management skills can be a catalyst. You get rid of things that waste your time and create space for things that bring more benefit.
Being just comfortable enough is another roadblock to keep you stuck. You’re not 100 percent happy, but you’re “happy enough.” This means you have settled for a life in your current comfort zone.
You have settled for a less-than-full life. If you are not 100 percent satisfied with your life, it means that something is missing. Something you desire is missing but you never will get it as you have settled for “happy enough”.
By blocking out thoughts of what will make you feel content in life means you'll miss out on what could have been. Most people on their death bed regret not what they did, but what they didn’t do.
Visualization can be a catalyst to change “happy enough”. Picture the next level of satisfaction in your life. By visualizing what life could be, you create a gap between what is and what could be. That gap may inspire you to close the gap.
Focus on how you can improve that area. Then make a plan to get you to that level of satisfaction.
Waiting for everything to be perfect is another big roadblock. Don’t wait until the situation is perfect before you try to change something. The situation will never be perfect.
Don’t wait for the perfect job, relationship or time. Perfection kills change and progress. The perfectionism you create in your head never translates into real life. There are no perfect scenarios in life.
Fear of failure is the number one roadblock preventing a catalyst to motivate people. They think if they don’t try then they haven’t failed.
The problem is if you think like this, you have failed. You choose to stay stuck in a pale version of the life you dream of. You choose to live smaller than what you are. Doing this is a form of failure – failing to live up to your potential.
The last roadblock I want to talk about is the one where you wait for change rather than pursuing change.
You wait for the perfect business partner instead of looking for one. You wait for the person you’re in a relationship with to value you more, rather than speaking up. You avoid difficult conversations or situations by waiting for it to change on its own.
Change won’t happen by itself. You start the change and make things happen.
You have to look inside yourself to find the motivation to make the needed change.
It is going to be uncomfortable at first but that’s OK. Discomfort is a sign you’re taking action to improve your life.
Your mind is powerful and can help you to make changes in your life.
When you feel fed up with your current situation and you decide to change it, your mind will lead you to take action.
Your emotions will become a catalyst and trigger a change. Let’s say someone is in a bad relationship. They will often stay in that relationship until their emotions push them to look for a change.
Anger could be one of the emotions acting as a catalyst. The other person’s behavior could have angered you before without turning into a catalyst. Until one day, your anger becomes the catalyst to cause you to look for a change.
Don’t be fooled. Your subconscious mind knows what you want. Unfortunately, what you are willing to settle for buries your true desires deep inside you. When you live your life without passion, you have settled for less than what you desire.
If what you do don't excite you and you have to drag yourself out of bed every day, it’s a warning that you need a catalyst. You need a spark to wake you up and push you through roadblocks, even if you are the only one who believes in you and your dream.
Do you know someone who lived unhealthily and then got a serious health scare because of their bad lifestyle choices? They got all shaken up and followed the doctor’s orders – for a while … But bit by bit they slipped back into their old habits.
What happened here?
The health scare – the catalyst – lost against personal responsibility. In order for your catalyst to keep on motivating you, you must take full responsibility. The hard truth is that you and you alone are making the choices in your life.
You may have made them because you didn't know better or you followed bad advice. Whatever the reason, you were the one that made the choice. If you do not accept full responsibility for where you are and how you got there, you won’t accept responsibility for change either.
Research shows that people who blame others never reach a place where they are happy. In their mind, life is happening to them rather than them making life happen. They are the victim of circumstances or other people.
Get yourself to the point where you can admit you have stuffed up and made bad choices. That bad job you took was your choice. That bad relationship you stayed in was your choice. Your bad health was your lifestyle choice.
Only when you accept full responsibility for everything in your life, will you be able to move on. Only then will you free yourself to accept the power of the catalyst because you have taken control.
Don’t allow what happened in the past to become an anchor to keep you where you will be in future. Get yourself to the point where past mistakes motivate you. Make it part of your learning experience and growth.
Growing is hard, but growth leads you to a whole different place.
You must take stock of your life. Look at every area and make notes on what’s not making you feel satisfied, excited and passionate. You cannot change if you don’t know what to change.
As a first step understand what matters more than anything to you in life. Remember, it will be different for you than anybody else’s highest priority.
Someone else may dream of a fancy house to own but you may not. Maybe you want more quality time with your loved ones. Perhaps you want your own business. Everybody wants something else out of life.
Your catalyst will be whatever action you need to take to free you. You may cut back on hours worked or you may have to change jobs. Whatever the catalyst, it must be something you desire with a passion.
You have to accept you have to change things to get what matters to you. There is no point in wanting something and then refuse to change to get it. You cannot run away from change and think you will get what you want.
Have you ever lost weight without changing something in your life? It doesn’t happen that way. You have to eat less, eat healthily and exercise more.
The same principles apply to anything you want. You have to change the things you do to bring about what you want.
You must give your catalyst the opportunity to make it happen. Let’s say you want to start your own business but your life is full of things that leave you not a minute to spare. You don’t have time to learn about business development or upgrade your skills.
You have to change and make room for the change you want. Work less, stop doing useless things like watching TV. Do whatever it takes to create space for your catalyst. You must make short-term sacrifices to gain in the long term. Doing nothing leads to nothing.
Make your catalyst concrete by writing it down and share it with others. Look at role models and find someone to mentor you.
The worst thing you can do is to leave the needed change as only a desire. Step up and claim what you want in life. Make the future real by writing it down and making concrete plans to achieve it.
If the size of the change is big don’t let it scare you. Perhaps you have to move to another country to make your dreams come true. Remember, you don’t have to leave overnight. Start planning and prepare for the move even if it takes a year or more.
When a catalyst happens, you can’t forget about your personal responsibility. Focus on the sensible things you must do to create an orderly change.
For instance, in moving to another country you would find a place to live and a way to sustain yourself. You will take your spouse and children into consideration during this move. You put in place smaller action steps to achieve your bigger change.
Small changes add up to move you closer to your bigger goal of how your life should look like.
Don’t wait for a lightning bolt to strike you. Don’t sit and watch time passes by. Accept personal responsibility for making the necessary changes. Like NIke says, Just Do It.
When your life is not what you want it to be, you need to realize you need to change. Consider today your wake-up call. Look for a catalyst to inspire you to make changes for a better future.
Don’t remain stuck in the mud looking at life passing you by. Don’t settle for less. Take personal responsibility to live life to your full potential. Just do it.
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