Most people trying for an MBA are looking to make changes in their life. Some people look to the MBA only when they feel they’re out of options, like if they get laid off, or a contract runs out, and they don’t know what else to do. They think the MBA will save them. (It might, but it’s probably not going to solve whatever the underlying issue is in that case.) Most people though are just looking to be better. They want to reconfigure their lives and go for something more.
However, you don’t need an MBA to make changes.
You can make this year different by doing even very small things.
And we mean, very small.
If executed with intent, you can radically transform your experience of the everyday with little shifts in how you go about things.
There’s the really basic ones like you’ve heard many times before, such as getting off the bus one stop ahead of your destination, and walking it. Or parking at the end of the parking lot, and putting in a few more steps as you run your errands. Those are fine but they’re a little boring, and sometimes you don’t have time to do the inconvenient.
A funner trick (yes that’s a word now) is switching things up in your daily routine. For example, try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand in the morning. It’s hard! It’ll also make you stop and think. You’ll have to pay attention to the task, instead of just going through the motions. It’s a way to trick yourself into staying more present, and anchoring yourself into what you’re doing and the small thing you’re trying to accomplish.
Here’s another set of ideas, all based around the outdoors , many of which are tricks to help you change perspective. Like, instead of hiking that Big Famous Mountain that attracts all the tourists and ends up being crowded on the trails, scout around for another smaller peak adjacent to it, and hike that. The author claims the views are often better anyway.
Getting out of the city and into nature on a regular basis can radically change how you feel. There’s this concept of “forest bathing” that started in Japan which has wisdom and merit. It’s not just that you’re surrounded by trees and feeling the crunch of leaves or pine needles beneath your feet. It’s that you’re out of your everyday rut. Change your environment and it changes your thoughts.
So how about this. Consider this your assignment for today, and tomorrow, and the rest of the week.
Find a moment to give a genuine compliment to a complete stranger, somewhere as you go about your day. It has to be genuine. It can be anyone though. The barista as you pick up your coffee. The bus driver as you get on the bus. The bike messenger chick whizzing past you as you’re crossing the street (as long as you’re loud enough that you know she heard you). Doesn’t matter. Just make a point to a) observe, and b) appreciate, and c) say it out loud. At least one time. Today. And tomorrow. And keep going for 7 days total.
Or keep doing it forever.
That’s how change happens in life.
Sometimes it comes in a massive wave of disruption, where you pack up your life and you move to a new place to start some big new adventure. Like bschool.
But the REAL change comes when you change. You can be the same person who comes out the other end of the MBA process if you relocate your same ideas and habits and being-stuck-ness into bschool and don’t let go of them.
Or you can explore life TODAY. And see what happens.
What new shift will you embrace for 2018?