The little things that make up the cycles of our lives make so much impact, but go mostly unwitnessed by our conscious minds.
We are intimately familiar with the cycles of our lives, whether we realize it or not. The water cycle, the moon phases, sunrise and sunset. Each day of our lives represents a single cycle. There are parts of that cycle that will almost always be the same. Wake Up, Eat, Sleep. This basic three part cycle is present in all of our lives, and thankfully only takes up about 10-12 hours of our day. This means that our uniqueness comes from the other 12 hours remaining in the day. For most of us 8 of those hours are dedicated to working. While we all work an infinite variety of jobs, those 8 hours feel similar to all of us, leaving 20 hours of our daily cycle, mostly the same. What do we do for the other 4 hours? Are those hours truly unique among us? Does that make each of us less unique? I don’t believe so. In fact I think it shows how close uniqueness is, and also demonstrates how near to us the power of change resides.
If I change only 30 Minutes of my day it would be hardly noticed by most, but of the truly unique hours of my day, I will have changed 25% of who I am. Obviously my personality, my beliefs and my morals do not change just because 30 minutes of my day changed, at least not immediately. I would argue however, that this 30 minutes applied each day can absolutely have an actionable change on who I am as a being. One simple change will not restructure who I am, but if I consistently make the change, for example if this 30 minutes were a daily exercise routine, then would I not change because of it by becoming a physically different version of myself?
The Hidden Impact of the Cycles of our Lives
This is what I mean by how these small cycles of our lives demonstrate how near we as beings exist to our power of change. This ideology of course brings to mind the question of whether or not mankind is more than their actions. I believe we are obviously more than our actions, but I also believe our actions shape who we are. They have a measurable impact on who or what we can be. If this is true though, why is it that so many of us are stuck in the same rut or routine. It can’t simply be as easy as changing 30, or even 10 minutes a day could it?The problem is it is exactly that easy, but the other 3 hours 30 minutes of our free time are just as impactful, and often counter-productive.
If you are like me and you seek to do something different with your time during the day, be it exercise, reading, or anything else, you find that at the end of your new activity you are left with a longing for what used to fill that 30 minute time frame. We then use the rest of our time to make up for the ritual we lost. In the water cycle, if we purify the ground-water but pollute the air, then the water still becomes polluted when it goes through its cycle. We do this unconsciously in the cycles of our lives by eating more calories after exercise, or watching more TV after reading, as if to catch up on time missed that wasn’t actually missed, just relocated. These routine habits can be almost addictive and hard to escape because they build off of each other.
The element of earth is demonstrated in our day to day routine and presents itself first most in the cycles of our lives. It is constituted by our diet, exercise, work, and life-structure. The decisions we make consciously and unconsciously. It is the solid element. The element of rigidity, and it does not give way to change easily. However; just like the canyons of the world were carved, and the beaches have receded, it is consistency and persistence that shift this element. “Rome wasn’t build in a day” and the Grand Canyon wasn’t carved in a decade, but they were built and carved.
By changing 30 minutes a single day, we do not become the person we want to be, but it is the first step in becoming them. By embracing the daily and weekly cycle of that person, and assimilating it into our lifestyle consistently, we will become them. In this way we visualize who we want to become, and watch ourselves become that person. We only have a few truly free hours a day, and what we do in those hours becomes who we are.
Check out The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, A perfect compliment to this article: