Determinism. It's a philosophy which mankind has shown to be entirely bankrupt since the dawn of civilization. That is, the moment man created a culture and developed a writing system to record it, he once and for all proved that he did not have to be an illiterate tribal loner. Within our own lifetimes we transform from an inarticulate immobilized quadruped to a sophisticated unstoppable force. Yet, always, many humans lazily fall back on the errant belief that some external force makes change impossible. A decidedly land-dwelling mammal, the human, even after we have conquered the oceans, the atmosphere and even space, we preach our limitations where they don't exist. Let us annihilate forever those limitations.
This is not an article about telling people whether they should change or what to change. Those are other debates entirely. This is for those of you who want to change, desire it, or want to help those who seek it.
Let us begin with the known limitations of humans. Stop right there. Fooled you already. We don't really know of any absolute limits. Technology has and will continue to change what we think of as limitations. Humans can't fly, except millions do every day. Humans can't stay under the water for more than a few minutes, except that submariners live at "impossible" depths for months or even years. Humans can't communicate instantaneously with each other at distance, except billions do so every moment of every day. The concept of impossible hinges dearly upon what your own mind accepts and refuses. Begin whatever journey with the openness to unfettered possibility.
Start with systems. We can all agree that systems can and do change. Caste systems, slavery, apartheid, governments, fill-in-blank-here come and go. We can imagine their creation and their destruction or abolition. Why is the mind, the body, the brain, psychology or any of their subsets any different? They are systems too, are they not? Systems can, do, and will change. This includes the system that is your mind, your body, your psyche.
None of this is to say that change is not difficult. Difficult is not impossible. Impossible is simply a made up metaphysical concept. It's a rhetorical device which can help us figure out why turning coal into diamonds is tough. However, it doesn't do much good when trying to figure out how to rid oneself of forty pounds of bodyfat or overcome phobias.
Ask yourself what part of the system is impossible? Is it the gods? Prometheus already stole the fire from Olympus. Is it genetics?
We change our genes.
Is it the cells in our bodies? The very composition of cell membranes throughout our bodies change throughout the day every day. Is it your psyche?
That's a simple matter of conditioning. Arguably, the vast majority of substance abuse addicts quit, even without intervention.
Everything is a system. All systems change. Change is directed by constituents. Constituents are themselves systems. All facets of the human condition are systems or their constituent systems. Which part is impossible? Even if you feel like you can list 100 impossible constituents, you are still left with a system influenced by other variable constituents which you yourself acknowledge. So, again, what system is impossible?
That's not to say we know or understand every constituent and how it works. That's precisely the point. If we can't know that every piece of a system is incontrovertibly fixed, why preach that the larger system is unchangeable? A lot of debates come down to this. Take climate change as one example. Without taking a side here, just think about the fundamental. We don't understand the sum total of the system that is "climate." But we do understand some of it. This reframes the debate. Rather than saying man is or is not responsible, we are left instead with the question, "how much?"
Thus it is with your own internal debate. Rather than saying you can or cannot change the system that is you, we are left with figuring out how much you can change, over what period of time, taken your givens, and depending on how much you want and are ready for the change. Everything is a system. If you change none of the inputs, obviously, the likelihood of system output change is low. If you change few of the constituents, then the system will be very similar. If you believe that changing the inputs and constituents will not yield a change, the likelihood of changing those inputs and constituents is low; and, surprise, your belief will be confirmed, further conditioning your mind and feelings to be the way they were: the same, unaltered, impossibly fixed.
The secret is this: anything you want to change is a system. Anything. Anything. The more you understand it, the more you know which constituents alter the system the most. No, you may never know all the factors at play; but that isn't the point. You know some. Use those. Learn more. Use those. Learn more. Use that. Systems are already changing and you play a role. That's not the debate. The question is, "how much are you going to do to get the system to work the way you want it to?"