It’s usually when something bad happens to us that we would want to change.
When we lose our possession, only then we would take safety measures.
When we get into an accident, only then we would be more careful.
When someone dies, only then we would appreciate life more.
No amount of books or movies seem to be able to shake us up and change our lifestyle if it needs changing. I have read hundreds of book in my short 25 years of living and I’ve probably learnt at least one lesson from each book.
But learning is not the same as taking action.
“Knowledge without action is wastefulness and action without knowledge is foolishness.”
I often wonder why people are not vegan already when they know about the meat and dairy industry.
The answer is simple: convenience and disconnection.
Thanks to technology, economic trade and marketing, restaurants and supermarkets alike have successfully made meat and dairy accessible. Businesses have used marketing to promote false information about the health benefits of those foods but ignoring plant foods.
We the consumers have found meat and dairy in many forms to be delicious. And so we have been demanding for more.
With the urbanization of our livelihoods, we have lived far away from the sources of our food be it meat, dairy or plants. This has disconnected us from understanding the lives of animals and the mechanics of our land.
Something needs to happen to us
I may be boggled by people’s reluctance to change based on facts and reality. But I could understand why.
Veganism became important to me because I was on the path of seeking a higher truth or tapping into my spirituality. I found out that meditation, yoga and eating alkaline plant foods would help. Plus, I got even more curious about how our food is grown when I was studying plant sciences.
But I couldn’t really explain that to people. So I’ve always said that I became vegan because of the environment, which is partially true.
I did start to care more and be curious about the Earth. And this was also thanks to my studying abroad in the UK where parks are aplenty and nature changed with seasons.
My recent experience reminded me of this
I might have forgotten how it was like for me four years ago when I decided to change my lifestyle.
But I’ve understood again that people just need something either very good or very bad to happen to them.
I was recently a victim of a scam and lost about RM 5,000 (~USD 1,200). It hurt not just my material worth but also my self-worth. Prior to that, I was advised many times to not give my personal details to anyone. But I foolishly did.
Now, after drowning in my sorrows, I am extra vigilant and I’m changing the way I work, think and learn. I’m more determined than ever to get in more clients for my freelance work and turn it into a profitable business that I may one day gain passive income from.
I’m also learning to not be too proud of my supposed intelligence. In the end, it was ego that killed my self-esteem in its entirety.
Can we change without something happening?
Change, driven by experiences, begins with our mindset.
Even without experience, it is still possible to change one’s habits. You’d just have to cultivate that sense of urgency and need. But I’m not saying it’s easy.
In the past few months, I’ve changed my habits by creating a new system that works for me. The reason I did this was to serve my desire to be more disciplined so that I could perpetuate my vision of becoming a digital nomad or be able to comfortably work from anywhere at any time.
All you need is the desire and a strategy.
And to start cultivating that desire and create a strategy, you’d need to:
1. Focus less on yourself
What stops most of us is thinking that we’re not good enough or that it would be too difficult. But if you have a cause in mind and figuring out what you can do to help others, you’re more likely to set aside your selfish thoughts and start taking action.
2. Get out of your bubble
Travel, live abroad or live away from what you call home. Not permanently, but enough for you to see different points of view and propel you to live the way you desire. Living in the UK for 3 years had definitely changed my worldview and initiated my desire to live differently than I was before.
3. Question everything
When we’re so used to our comfort zones, there’s no need to think twice. You just go with the usual flow. But to make a change, to better your life, you do need to question our existing beliefs and behaviours. It can be tedious to question everything. But if knowledge is what you get and action is what will you take, then it would be worthwhile.
Don’t ignore life experience
I’m a big believer in there being a reason for everything that happens to you.
It could be as joyful as your birthday surprise, as depressing as a divorce, or as hurtful as someone stealing your money.
Whatever it is, accept that it happened to you, feel all the emotions that come with it and try to learn from it.
You don’t need to understand why your boyfriend of 7 years broke up with you all of a sudden, why you acted stupidly, or why people would profit off of innocent animals.
Just don’t ignore it at first. Once you’ve acknowledged it, then you may try to at least distract yourself from thinking about it. And then proceed to move forward and make better.
Even after a blissful wedding, you could have an even wonderful honeymoon or marriage.
If you can’t wait for things to happen to you, create your own experience.
But of course, don’t hurt yourself unnecessarily.
If you’d like to really connect with animals, go to a factory farm and see how their lives are like.
If you’d like to connect with nature, go to the nearest park or forest.
Just make sure that whatever experience you plan to make, you have a reason to go forward with and that it would benefit you in the long run.