Three Truths of Change

It is commonly accepted that people don’t like change. I do not believe this to be true, or at least not as it is written. It should actually read like this:

People don’t like change they didn’t initiate.

I believe this is a more accurate statement, and it is the first truth of change. It is the difference between quitting a job and getting fired from a job. Both result in the same change. However, in the first instance, you prompted the change, while the second was forced upon you.

Second, real, personal, change is often hard. Millions of people try changing themselves or their habits every day. Only a small percentage actually succeed because even when change is voluntary, it may still involve some sort of pain, challenge or hardship.

Self-help guru/motivational speaker Tony Robbins wrote in his book Awaken the Giant Within:

“Change requires more than just establishing the knowledge that you should change. It’s knowing at the deepest emotional and most basic sensory level that you must change. If you’ve tried many times to make a change and you’ve failed to do so, this simply means that the level of pain for failing to change is not intense enough.”

The text in bold is the key, but I am going to tweak it just a bit for the third truth of change – people give up on (or fight) change because the pain of whatever situation they are trying to change has not yet outweighed the (perceived or real) pain of making the actual change.

The “pain” we are writing of here can take on many forms – physical, emotional, financial, etc., and everyone has a different tolerance for it, built over the years by many factors. No two people or their situations are exactly the same and so the details of their journey will be different. This is especially significant when leading change within a group, with the range of personalities growing as the size of the group grows.

To summarize:

  1. People don’t like change they didn’t initiate.
  2. Change is often hard, resulting in failing to change…because…
  3. Failure to change is often because the pain of change is still outweighing the reason for needing change.

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