Break Free: Embrace Change for a Brighter Tomorrow
I heard an anecdote about Eric Clapton once which, despite the lack of any corroborating evidence, I choose to believe. Clapton was a member of the commercially successful 1960s rock trio Cream, whose sound anticipated the heavier direction that rock would take with bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. After leaving the group, an interviewer asked Clapton why he no longer played with the other members of Cream. Clapton replied, "because I don't have to."
You can change what you do. It's not always easy – and seldom without consequences – but the option always exists. Clapton could have stayed with Cream, and probably would have been very successful and made a lot of money. Maybe they would have become the biggest band of the late '60s & '70s. But he didn't have to (and didn't enjoy it), so he did something else.
It's hard to walk away from the familiar, especially after achieving success or previously held beliefs around correctness. It's why people stay in jobs & relationships that they don't like or why daydreaming about big, bold moves is so satisfying – and actually pursuing those bold ideas is so difficult. But we all have, every day in every moment, the ability to change how we make decisions and see the world.
Inertia is the the idea that an object will continue its current motion (including no motion at all) until some force causes a change – and it cuts both ways. Yes, it feels easier to maintain the status quo, to keep doing things the way they've always been done. There's less to worry about with the familiar (even when it's unsatisfying). However, once you start taking action – whether that is a new hobby, exercise routine, a new job, or a different way of thinking about a common task – it gets easier and easier to stay in motion.
Here's a challenge for the next seven days: pick something small and change how you do it. It could be altering a simple task like holding your toothbrush with the opposite hand or something relational like having a short conversation with a colleague or acquaintance you don't know very well. Do something new & manageable as a way to test whether things need to be done the way they have always been done.
Then pay attention to how your body and mind react to this change. Is it easier than you thought it might be? Are you learning anything new about the world or yourself? How quickly does your brain start to internalize the new process? Even if you go back to the old way of doing things, a break from the normal can help you see new possibilities.
You can even think about your money habits this way! If you're very frugal, try treating yourself to something small – maybe an ice cream cone for no reason during your lunch break. If some part of your financial well-being gives you stress, write a short list of ways you could approach that topic differently. Take a short break from how things have been to see how they could be.
Timothy Iseler, CFP®
Founder & Lead Advisor
Iseler Financial, LLC | Durham NC | (919) 666-7604
Iseler Financial helps creative professionals remove stress while taking control of their financial futures. As both advisor and accountability partner, we help identify current strengths and weaknesses, clarify and refine your long-term goals, and prioritize understandable, manageable, and repeatable actions to bring long-term financial well-being. Reach out today to take the first step.