The Spark that Pulls You

Yesterday, a friend shared that a palm reader predicted, according to her lifeline, she would live to age 90.   From that, she surmised that when she was 45, half her life would be complete and the second half would begin.  Ergo, at age 45 – overs!

What happens when you’re 3? You laugh 70 times a day; at age 48, she committed to laughing 70 times a day. What happens when you’re 4? You deepen your language skills; at age 49 she committed to learning French.   Lord knows what she’ll do when she’s 45+13!!

It’s a whole new take on second childhood, only her reframe created self-directed growth. The spark of her reimagined second life pulls her toward adventure.

Why we change

There are two things that drive change: pain avoidance and pleasure seeking.

Clearly, my friend chose to frame her choices around pleasure seeking. As a result, she is light hearted and has a life filled with reinvention and challenge.

Pain avoidance is very effective as well. When my second marriage ended with a 911 call and an 18-month restraining order, pain avoidance was a really big motivator. I moved on, and fast.

The trick is to follow a spark that pulls you toward change rather than to sit and stagnate until the pain is so bad you have no choice.

Insider secret: you already have that spark.

The sparks are everywhere. Every time you think, “ha! I could ____,” or “what if I ____?” or “one of these days I want to ____ ,“ that’s a spark.

Sparks are inklings. Sparks are musings. Sparks are glimmers. Sparks are flights of fantasy. And because they’re ephemeral, you don’t think they matter or have substance. Or could ever work. You dismiss your sparks.

Every. Single. Time.

The logical mind can’t see the probablility of success, so you throw your sparks out with the trash like yesterday’s spent coffee grinds.

All it takes is attention

A spark creates change when we give it our full attention.

My client Claire fantasized about a trip to Europe but her full time job kept her safe at home. Working together, we put attention to this glimmer and created a financial plan to fund the trip, built up her nerve to take a 3-month leave from work, mapped out an itinerary – and off she went. It changed her life.

  • Sparks + attention = pleasure-seeking change.
  • Sparks – attention = eventual pain-avoidance escapes.

To create healthy change, give your sparks attention. Create a way to capture your glimmers, your inklings, your flights of fancy … your sparks. Dedicate a notebook, do a mind map, draw your visions. Fill a wish jar with scribbles on paper scraps.

When you’re ready, rate each spark 1-10 based on how excited it makes you feel.  Not by feasibility, or logical progression or what makes sense. Rate them by how they resonate in your body when you imagine it.

Now, focus on THAT spark.

Give it attention, research the idea, strategize; persist.   If you have many sparks that excite you, dig deeper to find what they have in common, and focus on that.

Let the spark pull you.  Seek pleasure so you won’t need to eventually avoid pain.


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