Well these past four years sure did go by fast, and upon reflection it’s amazing how much I believe I’ve changed since my freshman year. I can remember auditioning for the Blue Band and then thinking that so much of my self-worth was riding on that result. I remember planning to pursue engineering because I enjoyed the subject, but also because I wanted to live comfortably and this occupation would give me the money to do so. I remember thinking that wearing your dorm key on a lanyard was cool. I couldn’t have been more wrong on all three (especially that last one).

We are constantly changing. Day-to-day we may seem the same person, but really reflect over the past few years or even months and I’m sure there’s something that has changed in your personality, your temperance, your desires, or your dreams. To believe that we are unchanging, that we can’t grow and develop or diminish and decay, can be dangerous. The truth is, we are taking one of those two paths in almost every situation. So are you changing for better or for worse?

First, what are you working towards? What is culminating goal that you have set for yourself? Your final destination dictates the trajectory that you will try to take and therefore should be given much thought. The thing to watch for though is that in pursuit of this goal, does it cause you as a person to grow or deteriorate? Pursuit of happiness, a common goal for people, could lead to the compro In the grand scheme of life though, lanyards are of much less importance than things like relationships and our contributions to our community. The goal you have makes you more aware of the progress or the retrogression you make over time.

Second, what setting are you putting yourself in? A plant placed in fertile soil with plenty of nutrients will often thrive more successfully than when it’s planted in a bunch of rocks. Are you surrounding yourself with groups that instill good values and support for you? I wrote a post before called “The Rule of Five” which talks about this exact topic. The people we surround ourselves with will have a big impact on who we change into.

Lastly, what attitude do you have regarding change? In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. They both go into the temple to pray. The Pharisee was prideful and lists off all of the great things he does and then lists the ways that he is better than the Tax Collector. But the Tax Collector simply humbles himself and asks for mercy. Humility leads to positive change because it allows us to recognize our shortcomings instead of keeping them in the dark. We can always find worse actions of others to compare ourselves to. If we use these actions to justify our actions ourselves entirely we’re in trouble.

This world is changing, and watching the news lately I have been deeply saddened by just how much more pain, violence, deceit, and discouragement there has been lately. We all contribute to how this world changes, for better or for worse and we probably contribute more bad than often we would like to admit. So let’s do our best with what we have because we could always use more people consciously trying to change for the better.

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