We all want to change. And by now, we know that in order to change, we have to start with our mind. So what do we do? We pick up a book, because we know we should start by learning new things. We hope that by expanding our mind, and exposing ourselves to new ideas, we will get our mind on board with the change we wish to make.… and voilà! A transformed life.
But what if there was a way to circumvent the arduous process of change? What if we could simply jump into change head-first?
Lo and behold, the ultimate brain hack: act first, and your mind will follow.
A simple way to practice this is to simply do new things. It’s a little known secret: doing new things, even small things, changes our lives.
Why is this?
1. Doing something new challenges our perception of who we are. It forces us to question the assumptions we’ve made about ourselves, and it pushes us out of the infamous comfort zone. If you have spent your whole life saying you are not athletic, but you start going to pick-up soccer games twice a week, are you still the same person that was not athletic?
2. Doing something new challenges our perception of what is possible. We know that there are possibilities in life beyond what we’ve experienced. We know that people have done remarkable, monumental things. But it’s not until we have personally experienced these things that we confront the staggering depth of what is available to us.
3. Doing something new changes your brain. When we resist a typical temptation, or override our sloth impulses to skip the gym, we marshal the mental forces required to create new neural pathways. With repetition, these new ways of acting become our default response to the situation.
4. Doing something new challenges others’ perception of you. When we show up differently in the world, we attract different people to us. Every new experience adds to who we are, and the more our identity expands, the more people we can relate to. And of course, when we elect to do new things, we expose ourselves to new groups of people, and it allows others to experience a different facet of who we are.