Special to the Recorder
William R. Miller, distinguished professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, has extensively researched the psychology of change, and he defines a “quantum change” as a vivid, surprising, benevolent and enduring personal transformation. Miller and his team of researchers conducted a lifetime study of the impact of quantum changes in one’s life. In the study, the team asked people to describe their values before and after their quantum change. Subjects were given a list of 50 values and asked, “What matters most to you?” The results are at the end of this narrative. However, I encourage you not to jump ahead, but to continue to read along.
As many of us know, times of sudden change in our professional and personal lives can be painful and yet it can be the catalyst to take us to a higher understanding of our purpose and finding our so-called inner peace. My quantum moment took place March 15, 2017. After 29 years of marriage, my wife and I divorced. Just about everything I identified myself with was taken away, including the perception of the perfect couple, perfect marriage, perfect family, financial independence, beautiful home, cars and the rest. Okay, I will pause now, so you can take out your violins and play me a grief-stricken tune. In all seriousness, perhaps like you, I was one of those people who always looked for a better place in the future to bring me the happiness that I was craving. You know the dialogue — when I achieve A-B-C or when I get X-Y-Z, I will finally be happy. While I knew intellectually that my thinking was asinine, I continued relentlessly to pursue my “happiness” ambitions and goals, believing it would give me the fulfillment that I wanted and thought I deserved.
Wow! Talk about insanity!
Nevertheless, little did I know that my 2017 “aha” moment — quantum change — was allowing me to figure what was most important to me. In the end, my regrettable experience put me on a life-changing journey from one of ambition to one of meaning. However, my trek has not been without incredible struggle, as my remarkably powerful ego was repeatedly reminding me that I was a victim! Do not forgive! Hold resentment and continue to plow down the road to ambition while the whisper in my ear repeatedly told me more is better. Better is better. Do not ever be satisfied. Yep, this is the mantra of the ego!
It was the legendary Hindu sage, Ramana Maharshi, who said, “All unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble. If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it you would be free.”
Wayne Dyer, a widely known and well-respected author and speaker in the area of personal development and spirituality refers to the shift from ambition to meaning, as moving from the morning to the afternoon of life. Dyer, akin to Maharshi, suggests that the period of ambition is all about the EGO, which he proclaims stands for “edge God out.” Moreover, he argues that the only way to get to the meaning stage of life is to let go of the EGO!
“We no longer struggle to win; gain the approval of others; meet expectations others had for us; fulfill someone else’s idea of our dharma; or acquire, achieve or hoard. We let go of conflict, certainty, being right, fighting, dominating, vanquishing and feeling superior. All of this ego stuff loses its power and attraction when we arrive home, where meaning welcomes us,” Dyer said.
I inhaled everything Dyer wrote or spoke including his incredible film, “The Shift.” The movie is one of my favorites because it describes the roller-coaster path that I was facing. All the key characters in the movie experience a quantum moment, which opens the door to their eventual transformation. As you will see from the results of Miller’s study, the biggest advance is the priority given to spirituality, which rose from the bottom third to first place for men and third place for women.
“It seems like everything in the person's inner world has changed for the better: emotions; values; spirituality; sense of self and personal growth; significant relationships; and understanding of the past, present, and future,” Miller stated.
To read more about Miller’s study, check out the article he penned in the January 2012 issue of Spirituality & Health Magazine. A simple Google search will provide you with the column.
Men before Shift:
1. Wealth/Accumulating money
2. Sense of adventure
5. To be respected
Men after Shift:
2. Personal peace/less stress
4. God’s will/Sense of purpose
Women before Shift:
2. Sense of independence
4. Fitting in
Women after Shift:
1. Personal growth
2. Self esteem
Whoever said, “That which is “in the way” is the way was spot on! Obstacles create opportunities my bruddahs and sistas. You are the captain of your ship; set sail!
Source: Anatomy of a Quantum Change by William R. Miller – January 28, 2012
Harry Pappas Jr. CFP
Master of Science Degree Personal Financial Planning
Certified Estate & Trust Specialist
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
Pappas Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
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