Brand New Eyes


Marcel Proust said: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Life can be difficult and problems can be challenging however, looking at the issues that confront us with brand new eyes rather than seeking the next new thing makes us much more resilient and stronger in the long term. It's so easy to run away when trouble rears its ugly head. I remember moving to a different country only to find that the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side. What is it about new that is so exciting and attractive? A new job, the new car smell, the allure of a brand new relationship - as soon as we experience a bump in the road, we start seeking something new.

But it is important to know that new isn't always better. Often when we seek something new, we seek it for all the wrong reasons. New provides the illusion that all the problems we are experiencing with the old will suddenly disappear. We forget that new is always only new for a short time and that very soon, new will also become old, and the problems with what we categorize as new will at some point emerge. Every situation has its nuisances whether new or old.

The constant quest for the excitement associated with that which is new is what causes us to move very quickly from one job to another, and never really building a career. It is what causes financial distress as chase after bigger much quicker than our wallets would allow. Sometimes we discard what is good enough for what we perceive as being better only to discover that what we believed was better is no different, or much worse.

Let me be clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with "new" but seeking something new just for the sake of it brings no real lasting rewards. Maybe rather than looking around for the next shiny toy, it may be beneficial to take a deep breath and do a complete assessment of the motivation for seeking something different. Anytime you feel the need to simply "jump ship", ask yourself a few important questions - What am I running away from? Is there a difficult lesson I am doing my best not to learn? Is change the best solution to what confronts me right now? If you answer these questions honestly, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you discover. I know that every time there is a need to ask myself these very same questions, I find out that there are a few difficult lessons I don't want to learn but desperately need to develop new skills that will prepare me for handling whatever life throws at me in the future. I also realize fairly quickly that change isn't always for the best because new has no guarantees.

We can only discover value in new when it's for the right reasons. For every new adventure, we are the common denominator. We are always there. For example, a New Year is of little or no value if we go into it with an old dysfunctional mind. The year may be new but we are not. We go into it with the same old habits, attitudes, and dispositions as we had the previous year. Any time, we move into something new, we take our old selves into it and the results we get are always familiar. Lasting change rarely starts with a change in acquisitions, environment, or circumstances. Real change must begin within. Until we can look at the situations that confront us with brand new eyes and get to the root of our motivations, we risk spending our lifetime skipping and hopping from one thing to the next and never finding true enlightenment or satisfaction.

Maybe you don't need a new job and all you need to do is see your current job with brand new eyes. It is also possible you don't need a new partner and you just need to start seeing the good in the one you've got by opening your eyes. The moral of the story is that change isn't always the answer. There are times when change can be a big mistake. It could mean going from the frying pan to the fire.

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