Well, not really. But, perhaps this will be one of the most important. The point is if I had named this post, “This Blog Post Will Make You Feel Uncomfortable,” or “The Most Important Blog Post You Won’t Want to Read,” would you have opened the email or clicked the link? Most people would not. Yet, more commonly than not, the most important things we need to hear don’t tend to sound too good at first.

“The linear progression is not how we tend to solve problems.”

There is a reason that much of the blogosphere, online publishing, and magazines crank out piece after piece based on lists: six tips to building your business, seven steps to weight loss, ten habits of success, and so on. We like lists. Lists give us comfort. Lists boil every challenge and issue down to bite size pieces. They make our most baffling conundrums suddenly seem easily surmountable via the linear progression of beginning at step one, then proceeding to step two, and then step three, and so on. All we have to do is follow the list and all our problems will be solved.

Reducing things to mere lists is most often an oversimplification of how things really work. Not that we have to make things more complicated than they already are, but that the linear progression is not how we tend to solve problems, become inspired, overcome fears, lose weight, achieve success, and so on.

“The things that lead to major shifts in our lives are more commonly related to deep introspection.”

Yet, there are lots of examples of people who have struggled with their weight for many years, then one day shifted their thinking, lost weight, and kept it off. There are plenty of examples of people who struggled with their careers for decades and then one day hit it big. I have a friend that took until his early 60s to find a lasting relationship and start a family.

The things that lead to major shifts in our lives are more commonly related to deep introspection, emotional healing, great epiphanies, changes in our worldview, or a change in our relationship to ourselves. We change our thinking, then what follows is a change in how we feel, and then what follows is a change in how we perceive people and interact with them and how people perceive us and interact with us, and then what follows is a change in the outward results of our lives. The starting point is our own willingness to change—to consider a different course and to let go of limiting beliefs, resentments, and regrets. Becoming willing to shed belief systems also leads us to periods of emotional cleansing.

This is the uncomfortable part. Lists feel secure and surmountable. Traveling inward to examine the beliefs and opinions we’ve carried around for years feels messy and uncomfortable. The inward change also comes about differently for each individual, so the one-size-fits-all approach leaves many without a meaningful course to follow. The inward work begins at the moment in time in which we’ve decided that the pain of standing still is greater than the pain of moving forward—the point in time in which we’ve come to the conclusion that the uncomfortability of change is worth it. Then we move the needle. Then we let go and shift.

The next step? Well, that will be entirely up to you.