Gary Szenderski’s latest book, Szen Zone: Reaching a State of Positive Change, is one of those cool reads that delight you as they enlighten you. I couldn’t stop once I started, and made my way through in one sitting.
The book is all about how we create positive change, which funnily enough, is my own research subject du jour.
How does a person create, survive and manage change? How do we live with the awareness that we have the power to become what we choose? Szen Zone identifies a cross-section of catalysts for change, some of which are likely to resonate with you.
One of the best features of this book and what makes it stand out for me is the use of narrative in illustrating how individuals create positive change. Our brains loves stories – they’re how we learn.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book. Below that you’ll find an interview with Gary himself.
My fave quotes from Szen Zone
Motivation, be it self-imposed or coming from an outside source, creates a framework for organizing our thoughts. It let’s us set priorities. When we’re motivated, it’s because we see an outcome that is favorable, and it is worth the energy, time, money, pain, etc. to achieve. Essentially, we log whatever that goal is into our internal GPS and move toward it. Once on the move we have to remember and remind ourselves of the ‘why’. Knowing ‘why’ is empowering and helps us to stay focused on the outcome. Focus then helps us create more desire until we reach a tipping point where circumstances, timing and mindset merge to deliver what we seek.
Reminds you that knowing our whys (i.e. our core values) is paramount when it comes to getting and staying motivated.
Simply by paying a little more attention to the now and less to the then and when, can capture real life, drama, happiness and good fortune right when we need it most, which is of course always.
A powerful reminder of the role that simple presence plays in facilitating ‘good fortune’.
When we hold on to a desired outcome too long, we can become stuck and in a waiting posture and we become less creative. The best we can do is stay focused on our goals yet remain open to the possibilities.
Encouraging advice for those times when our expectations don’t materialize – which can often be the case where other people are involved.
Sometimes the most disparate actions, events and commentary can join to create an unexpected yet clear picture of what was meant to be.
Gary uses a really awesome story here to highlight how we never know sucky situations might turn out to be the best thing ever.
To be really prepared for the unknown requires a clear commitment to the now. When we are present, we are all there and that’s an advantage in just about everything we do. The more we are ‘aware’, the more we absorb what’s around us and the better our senses engage and respond and that gives us an edge – Enough of an edge sometimes to meet surprise with wisdom: Wisdom born from a calmness that only we can create.
Presence again: this time it’s role in preparing us for the unexpected. I love this simple advice to stay calm and stay, ’cause nothing makes us better able to respond to our challenges than that.
Each place or person we encounter has the potential to become a major player in this next season of our lives.
Isn’t this the truth?
One single elegant clear-minded thought is all we need to change our world.
Change can happen very, very quickly.
The best and maybe only way to create what we want is to know what we want and then move towards it. Do something. A small step, a note, a call, anything that gets us closer is good. A good way to start is to do research on the Internet for the words you have identified that are related to your vision.
Leave the vision switch on when it comes to encounters with any things. It helps us stay in a self empowered mode and it becomes easier to stay focused and not so stymied by the pull of the outside world. And over time, you may discover that the world is influenced by our thoughts as well. It’s all in how we see it that matters. And that individual, unique and self-realized view that is ours alone is created from the ‘Waitless’ world we live in – the here and now.
Such an important distinction. Our attitude to the daily monotony is what makes the difference between staying on course and being thrown off by other people’s bad moods, and the other annoying stuff life sends our way.
The book also includes a cool three stage process for releasing yourself from feeling stuck.
We forget to move our own cause and goals forward. If we could manage our life’s dreams like we do a normal day’s work and spend the same energy on reaching new goals, we’d get what we want. It only takes a few moments in between all the hours we have already to make it happen.
We all prioritise what’s urgent over what’s important; but when we do that, our goals get further and further out of reach.
Only by relaxing our grip on what the future may bring can we attract what we truly desire. The best dreams to come true are the ones we thought could never happen.
A beautiful reminder not to be fixed on outcomes over the emotional states and ideals that we desire. That allows our desires freedom of expression!
Change is how we know we are alive.
As there is no value in resisting the inevitable, we might as well develop our psychology for dealing with twists and turns.
Self observation and reflection is extremely useful when applying all of the previous moments of our life – the then – to what will be the new now. In other words, like my story at the top, our experience, good or bad, is always with us and available to help construct and hopefully enjoy the now that is currently upon us.
Reflection and inward focus play their part in our advancing our change game: used appropriately, they give us the wisdom to better steer our course in the now.
Generally speaking, our world is of our own creation. We determine to what extent we need to pay attention and that’s what we absorb.
So where are you placing your attention?
Whatever our dream may be, there is at least one step we can take, one move we can make towards the dream, and once we do it draws the dream closer. The one step process removes the burden of having to connect all the dots before we start. With one simple move in the right direction, a commitment of faith, we can set in motion energy of purpose that serves to align the dots on our behalf. All we have to do is believe, point and go.
Raises another important aspect of creating change: consistent action, no matter how small.
The beauty of today’s fast moving, immediate, interactive and content rich society is that we have choices and options about what we let into our lives and what we leave out.
Yet another tenet of personal change: to manage what we allow into our consciousness. We are either creating space, being inspired, or filling our minds with junk.
Following what ‘feels’ right is often hard to explain, but it can calm our heart knowing we’re following its lead. The inner voice, the heart’s calling, following your gut – whatever you want to call it is a very real and valuable sextant for guiding our decisions.
When we are creating change, in order to know what we want, we need to listen to the heart as well as the brain.
When we are open to new information or possibilities, we begin to see an expanded reality that is less filtered, a reality, which could possibly change our future by simply reexamining our past.
Taking a more empowering interpretation on past events can be life-changing, because we erase those blind spots that are holding us back.
Sometimes we forget to plant at all and we stop thinking about what we may want, and get stuck thinking about what we already have. This creates a repetitive loop that guarantees the same results and reality over and over.
Reminds you why it’s so important to take time out of your busy routine to recaliberate. If creating change for ourselves is dependent at least in part on what we can imagine for ourselves, then we need to create an environment ripe for a healthy imagination.
When we find something that makes us happy we should simply do more of it. It makes sense I think, that we would all be more fun to be around is the switch was always on.
A neat iteration of Joseph Campbell’s ‘follow your bliss’.
Knowledge is power and asking directly for what we want or need will actually put us in the driving’s seat.
Being curious and having the fearlessness to act on our curiosity by asking questions and closing the gaps in our knowledge is empowering. We don’t get what we aren’t capable of asking for.
In many cases, the releasing or letting go of the need for a predetermined outcome for a situation is exactly what’s needed to bring it closer to reality.
Surrendering our expectations is key to not only successfully creating positive change, but I reckon happiness and fulfillment levels too.
Interview with author, Gary Szenderski
Me: Gary, thanks for writing this book. I loved it a lot. You’re an internationally acclaimed brand specialist and have enjoyed serious success doing that as well as writing and teaching people and organisations about change. What distinctions highlighted in the book have been the most powerful for you in causing your successes? Tell us the most important thing to do!
Gary: What’s been the most powerful for me in my success is perspective – how we see what happens makes all of the difference. Change can be forced on us from anywhere, but if we perceive an opportunity from the change and pursue it, we actually change the equation and take the lead.
As far as the most important thing to do, I’d say is move toward your goal. Even a little action and energy spent on getting to where you want to be will pay dividends.
Me: In your experience, what stops people the most from creating positive change for themselves?
Gary: Not knowing what they really want. Without the thought of success or a vision to follow we stall. You can’t get what you want until you know what you want.You can't get what you want, until you know what you want Click To Tweet
Me: Do you think change has to be hard?
Gary: No: but it can be scary.
Me: What is the role of our ability to handle change in creating a meaningful life?
Gary: Our primary role is to stay focused on the desired result, and keep a proper perspective on what happens along the journey to keep from getting side tracked.
Me: Do you think it’s possible to become highly skilled in creating personal change?
Gary: Creating the right scenarios to realize positive change is totally possible and available to all of us. The more we try, the better we get. How long would it take? Takes a second. Change your mind, change your world.