on change, transformation, and second chances

i’m currently reading resilience: why things bounce back by andrew zolli and ann marie healy (h/t curtis ogden). it’s definitely inspiring lots of posts. this is the first.

sometimes people wonder how i am so well connected. they ask me how it’s possible that i know so many people in so many different places and contexts. i think the reason is because i try really hard not to write anyone off. i fundamentally believe in the possibility for each person i meet to be an awesome person. even if, by certain metrics, they aren’t one right now.

now, why do i believe that? because i believe in the possibility that all people can transform. i’ve seen it before (in friends, in guys i’ve mentored, in stories across history) and now this section is resilience is adding a little more fuel to my belief.

so there was this amazing study done (in boston, of course) about how different types of meditation affect the brain. i think an analogy might be helpful to explain the gist.

imagine a cart that is being pulled along by horses on a dirt road. the horses and cart come down this road 100 times a day. the road splits into two directions: let’s call them hate street and acceptance street. when the dirt road is new, it’s just as easy for the horses to pull the cart onto either street. however, if the horses go down acceptance street repeatedly, grooves begin to form in the road. these grooves make it easier over time for the cart to wind up on acceptance street.

basically, this is what happens in your brain with neural pathways as you meditate for hundreds of hours. in the book, they explain the science of this in a very precise way. the results from this study have definitely confirmed my belief in the ability for people to transform themselves.

and for that reason, i think everyone deserves to be seen not as who they are now, but as who they have the potential to be. second chances all around.