On my train ride into work today, I noticed a building site. A group of men in overalls and hard hats were getting ready for the day, next to huge heaps of sand and stone. There were trucks, diggers, cranes, and of course the shell of what shall one day be a beautiful building.

It got me thinking about life: To make something beautiful you often first need to have a mess.

You are probably wondering what I am talking about, but let me explain.

Change takes effort. Improvement of any kind is hard work, right? If you are going to do home improvements, you must expect the builders to come into your home, tear down all that is needed to be changed, and then rebuild it. Your house will be filled with dust and noise. There will be the inconvenience of not having a toilet or maybe an oven for a period of time while the builders do what they need to in order for the renovations to be completed.

The same goes for landscaping your garden. The landscapers will come in, tear out your existing lawn and flowerbeds and leave your garden looking ten times worse than it did before.

Have you ever experienced renovations of any kind?

It’s the same in life: change often comes hand in hand with chaos and destruction – but there is purpose to the chaos and destruction.

This is something I have found within my own life as I have worked on changing things in myself over the years. Character building is just as messy and chaotic as any other kind of building or renovations.

You need to allow yourself to go through the destruction of what was, which often leaves a massive mess – not only around you but within you – as you deal with things that will inevitably come up during that renovation period.

So here are four things I learned from my own “character renovation”.

  1. Planning is necessary

A builder never begins until his plans are drawn up. So before you decide to do some character renovations, do some soul searching first. Find out more about yourself and make a list of what you would like to see changed. Then have a game plan for how you will go about making those changes. Have a plan and a goal, because without these two vitally important things you are destined to fail.

  1. Expect a mess

Do not go into this naively. Do not think that you can do any kind of character renovations without a mess being made. You will struggle to change certain habits; you will have to deal with horrible, messy things from your past. The thought of having to deal with these things may even leave you terrified. This process may bring up very painful memories and strong emotions that you have been suppressing for years. So expect a mess.

  1. Expect delays

You probably won’t get it right the first time or even the hundredth time. You may hit a wall time and again, but anything big like renovations – even with all the planning you did – is going to have the odd delays. You will have to apologise (probably many times) during this period; you will have to regroup, re-evaluate, and retry. But once again, that all comes with the territory of change. So don’t give up. This is where your goals become very important.

Keep the end goal in mind.

  1. The finished product will be worth it

I know from experience that this journey of change is a hard one, but it is also really worth it. When I see how far I have come from that wild boy I once was to the man I am today, I am blown away. There are many that knew me that are blown away, too.

I feel proud of what I have achieved and who I have become (and who I am still becoming). However, it took me years and I am still not fully done with my renovations – but  hey, what renovation job do you know that has not been in need of after-service fix-ups once the work was completed? Just know that the end product will be worth all the madness, chaos, and mess, because at the end of the day you are worth it and all the chaos will have had a purpose.

Happy renovations!

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