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Why you should make a list of 50 people who changed your life?


Patrick Kozakiewicz

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I know it is a stretch to ask to make a list of 10 people, let alone 50. However, this stretch may be just what is needed to further develop your personal and professional life.

We, as humans, have a tendency to focus on the big things in our life. The graduation, the accident, the marriage, the pandemic, etc. It is true that those are big changes and they have great implications on our lives. There are also the “little” changes that many of us have a tendency to neglect. Yet, every change can have a profound effect on us. This can be seen in chaos theory with the so-called butterfly effect, in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. In other words, a butterfly flapping its wings may cause a hurricane across the globe. Isn’t it all just cause and effect?

Well, the point I want to make is not to argue about big and little changes or butterflies here, just to shed some light into the power of change. The constant that is change. And by definition even the constant can change, if you know what I mean ;-). So, please take everything I saw with a grain of salt. This is to illustrate why making this list of 50 people who changed your life may be important for your development.

Back to these little changes. These little moments could have profound implications on our life, without us being aware of it. Take for example these three situations. They were little, they were caused by a person and they happened in a moment:

  1. A woman is known to put on a ton of make up on her face, because when she was 16, her father commented about her going out with her skin disease that creates different shades to the skin on her face and makes her look ugly.
  2. For years, I couldn’t speak out because when I was a boy, the teacher in class made fun of me for my Polish accent.
  3. The person is know for failing with clients, because when they were 14 years old, they overheard their mother saying to their aunt she had not wanted to have another child and that this person had been "an accident".

Would the situations illustrated above count in the list of 50 people that changed a life? Maybe, maybe not. Nonetheless, looking at things from this perspective will allow you to notice how a person can have a profound effect on us. Before I tell you how to approach making the list, I want you to read a story.

Story illustrating approach to change

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

Such bad luck” they said sympathetically.

Maybe” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

How wonderful” the neighbors exclaimed.

Maybe” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

Maybe” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
Maybe” said the farmer.

How to make the list?

This is why I ask you to make a list of 50 people who changed your life. It will not only allow you to reflect upon your past, reflect upon who you are and the people that effected you, but also allow you to decide to what extent you want that change to be a part of you as you move forward. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. You can start by just writing down the first names that come to your mind and then work your way back in time or to big events around your life, thinking about which people were effecting you then.
  2. If you get stuck, it’s ok to ask someone close to you or think of influential people who have changed your life, people you may not know directly but have seen on TV or read about. They could also be long past, someone from history.
  3. Notice and observe what thoughts, emotions and sensations arise as you do this activity. See what you can learn about yourself and about change as you execute the task.
  4. Have fun and if you like contact some of those people and give them a thanks. 
  5. Just cause these people changed your life and made you who you are right now doesn’t mean you have to stay this way. The future is in your hands.

Thanks for making the time to read. If you have any questions or what to chat about this. Feel free to reach out to me.


Photo: Startup Stock Photos

Kategorie: mindfulness