Posted by Dallas Munkholm
"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." William James In today’s world nothing is more certain then change. We are always changing. Some changes we choose, others are thrust upon us with little choice, others we think we don’t have any power in the decision to change but we do. In fact, we always have a choice, just at times it seems that the one choice is totally unacceptable and so we feel we have no choice.
For example, either you take this different position or you don’t work here anymore. Or you need to change or your spouse/friend will leave. These really don’t feel like choices do they? Yet, the decision is ours. How bad do we need that job? Will we stick to our position or take the new one, our choice. Are we willing to stand our ground with our spouse or do we feel more value in changing, again, our choice.
So how to make a deliberate change? To change something in our life we need four basic things: an awareness of something to be changed, a desire to change, information regarding the change, and action. So most of are aware when things need to be different, the question then becomes do we want to do something about it, a desire. The next thing is information, very specific information.
Our brain does not deal to well with abstract generalities, if I say I need to lose weight and step on the scale and I’ve lost a pound, I’m done, I’ve lost weight. We need to know what do we want to change, a specific behavior or belief, we need to know why, what is wrong with us the way we are. Then what do we want instead, again, specifics, why, how when and what. What have we tried, what worked or didn’t and why. Once we have gathered this information we need a plan of action.
Most of us have no problem figuring out the first two, some of us get to parts of the information gathering but most of us fall down in the action part. If we want something different in our lives we have to do something different. This allows us to take control of our lives and that makes us less anxious.
Why don’t most of us do something when we have gathered the information? Well, Joe Vitale, says the reason most of us don’t do something is fear. Fear of something different happening, we don’t know what is coming at us, fear of trying and failing, fear of trying and succeeding. Sometimes we fear the reactions of others in our life, spouses, partners, family, parents, friends, bosses and co-workers, the list is as long as we want to make it.
It is this fear that leads to a final point about change. For most of us changing things in our lives is relatively simple until we come up against our personal lives, our beliefs, our hopes and fears and those things we hold close and dear. Then our decision to make a change is harder, we feel threatened or afraid and decision-making skills suffer.
Change will never happen in your life until the pain of staying the same outweighs the fear of change, fear of the unknown. We need pain as a motivator for some reason. We often struggle with making our own choices stick, pain will change that. When we are in enough pain and distress that fear no longer stops us; that is when we will make a change.