The $64,000 question (or the $1,000,000 question)… Why does everyone want to change, commit to change and then fail to change? Today you find out the answer.
Have you ever avoided doing something, even though it would make you feel good and help you accomplish a goal?
For example, let’s suppose you know you need to lose weight and should start eating healthy meals. Indeed, you like the way you feel when you eat healthy foods. So why is it that you eat healthy for a few weeks …but then before you know it you’re sitting on the couch with a bowl of chips again?
In other words, why are we so resistant to change? Why is it so easy to slip back into our old habits, even when you are 100% committed?
The first door of navigating our way through the labyrinth of your brain is “The Door of Familiarity.”
Familiarity is Safe
No matter how appealing change sounds – whether it’s losing weight, making more money, or attaining a goal to do the things you’ve always wanted to do (like travel the world); staying in your rut means you stay safe.
Let’s face it – the unknown is scary…to everyone. And the unknown causes ENOUGH fear at both the conscious and unconscious level to shut down the logic of growing, evolving and changing.
KEYPOINT: Unfortunately, you have been hard- AND soft-wired with the instinct/intuition to do nothing which you are not familiar with; and it has been reinforced by experiences that may have caused insecurity in the past.
Consider this: you’re standing before the closed door of a very large room. Let’s suppose that you happen to know there’s a cash reward waiting for you if you open this door, walk across the room, and claim your reward. Simple, right?
But there’s a problem: the room is pitch black, so dark that you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. Since you’ve never been in this room before, you have no idea what the interior of the room looks like.
Maybe it’s a completely empty room that you could simply walk across and collect your reward. But on the other hand, your imagination creates other interesting scenarios like….could there could be broken glass on the floor, objects in the way that you’ll trip over, and things hanging from the ceiling that you’ll bump your head into…or WORSE!
For all you know there could be ANYTHING! You just don’t KNOW. It’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable and even though there is no reason to believe so, it’s scary.
KEYPOINT #2: Fear is not a conscious decision.
KEYPOINT #3: Only a conscious decision can cause you to overcome fear.
So you start to think and wonder…
And that’s the problem – you simply DON’T KNOW.
You have no idea if navigating the room is a walk in the park and the easiest money you’ll ever make …or if it’s something that will threaten your life, injure you, or frighten you.
So what happens? You think about the size of the reward, and then you play that against the dangers that possibly await you. Is it a big enough reward for you to take a risk?
And/Or …since the unknown is frightening, do you waive your right to the reward by playing it safe?
Sometimes you and I resist change and a possible reward because we don’t know what it will take to reach that reward. The familiar (staying in the well-lit room) is safe. We may not get the reward …but neither do we have to take any risks, which means we will be COMFORTABLE, and probably experience no CHANGE in the STATUS QUO.
No risks usually means no disasters based on experience (even though there could be a disaster waiting to enter the well lit room that your mind doesn’t consider!!)
NO RISK = NO DISASTERS
And so you get stuck.
You want to lose weight, start a business, write a book or do any other number of things. But you become afraid to open that door and walk into the dark and unknown. We may not be happy where we’re at, but at least familiarity is seemingly safe.
What’s the “Secondary Gain?”
A second cause of resistance to change is that you’re receiving some sort of benefit – a payoff – for remaining in the muck.
…the “starving artist” says he wants to be rich and famous …but it seems his life is in shambles and he can’t get a break. Out of his misery springs great art – and soon he has the social reputation of being a “tormented soul” and no public reputation at all…and a house filled with his own art….
The problem is that he believes that being poor and in misery is the only way he can keep making great art (and his reputation says as much, too). That means he’s getting a pay-off for staying in the starving artist rut. He won’t change – meaning he won’t seriously pursue his dreams of causing his paintings to be mounted on the walls of the rich and famous…until in his mind the rewards he’s seeking outweigh the secondary gain he’s currently receiving…and he has the master plan to actually move on his momentary motivations each day or week.
I can virtually promise you, the starving artist in this case will always starve.
In most cases, we choose instant gratification over long-term satisfaction.
Maybe you work a job you don’t like, but, one where you get a paycheck every week, versus starting a business that will initially put us in some kind of debt. (Even if it’s time to learn what to do!) Or we choose to eat the chocolate cake right now for instant gratification and worry about the inches and life expectancy later.
If you’re having problems making changes, it’s time to look honestly at the situation. Are you receiving some sort of pay off for staying in the rut?
(You are, just write down what they are.)
Another reason people are resistant to change is because of limiting beliefs.
People may believe that change isn’t possible, or perhaps deep down simply believe that they don’t deserve the rewards. Either way, our progress will be stopped in our tracks and the unconscious need to be comfortable and safe causes the loss in the motivation to change.
Scenario: You want to start your own business. You have dreams of becoming wealthy online. You can see people all around you doing it (and they make it look so easy, too). And yet when you “try,” you don’t get anywhere. You can’t even make enough to cover your lunch.
Often times when it comes to money matters, people have been “programmed” to believe that money is “bad,” and that rich people became that way through unscrupulous means.
God knows that some Polish journalists I spoke with last year, and many business people that I talked with there believe that. AND I can’t remotely blame them because in THEIR history, that is a FACT…but because that is what they are familiar with, the idea of money being “good” (it’s really neither good or bad, it just is a means of exchange) and success happening through building long-term relationships that last for decades or more…well…beliefs are going to be slow to change….
But here is the real deal: There is nothing bad about having enough money stashed to take care of you and your family.
In fact, it is much easier to argue the naivete and foolishness of people who believe that “money isn’t everything.”
Idiots say that all the time.
But here is how “money isn’t everything” translates into English:
“I am unbelievably lazy and refuse to work. I pay in my money to Social Security and I can file bankruptcy if things get bad. If I start taking responsibility for my life, then I have to work harder and who says hard work is sacred? I deserve free health care paid for by the work of someone else. I deserve free food, housing, transportation, and everything else that someone else can pay for. And I eradicate my guilt by saying, ‘money isn’t everything’.”
And it isn’t, but neither is sloth…
And the same beliefs are true in many cultures and subcultures.
Perhaps parents and friends talked about rich people in a derogatory manner, saying things like, “That Mr. Smith is such a show off driving around in his big fancy car. I don’t know why anyone would want to be rich like that.”
I know I sometimes felt like that when I was a kid…though I rarely saw anyone with a fancy car when I was really young… but you get the idea….
Of course you can look back and realize that it might have been our parents’ and friends’ own limiting beliefs that made them say things like that, or perhaps even a touch (or a ton) of jealousy. But the damage was done. You spent your growing up years hearing how evil it is to be wealthy.
“Money…the root of all evil.”
‘course the book didn’t say that as you and I know…it said the love (agape) of money (which is flat out goofy and senseless), is the root of all evil…
So once you grew up and decided that you wanted to make a fortune online, what happened? Yep, you guessed it. Those limiting beliefs popped back up – maybe even nonconsciously – and fought your conscious mind tooth and nail. Next thing you know you’re sabotaging your own success without even realizing it. The deeply programmed self-limiting beliefs won again. They virtually always do.
“I want to work the four hour work week like Ferris does.”
Yeah, me too, dilwad. Everyone does. The problem is that the book is all about earning $40,000 per year and island hopping enroute. (and don’t get me wrong, I like the book and Ferris) It isn’t that hard to do.
Got a kid?
An elderly parent?
A medical condition?
Need money for the next 30 years of your life when you get hit by a car?
It’s not difficult to earn 40K on four hours per week. (well maybe at first but eventually, a year later it’s not…)
It’s simply impossible to prepare for a normal life on 40K.
And while someone is popping 40K annually they are unfortunately destroying their future and those they love.
No preparation = disaster A, B and C……and D.
And because the brain’s “default” is familiarity and comfort and “in the moment,” only those who are willing to get past the power of default at 11 PM …at bedtime when one more snack could be eaten…and you’ll do better TOMORROW…that default…can only change with continuous intention until a NEW DEFAULT is established.
In order to get beyond these sorts of beliefs, you need to recognize them when they pop up – and counteract them.
For example, right this moment make a statement about what you’d like to do. Or if you’re around other people who you don’t want to look weird in front of…THINK IT…
“I want to be a famous author.”
“I’d like to be a size four.” (for you guys, size “four” is a skinny girl…)
Or of course we could say, “oh she’s anorexic,” and there is a tiny (forgive me) chance of that, the fact is that those skinny people live a long, long, long time. Size 2 will outlive Size 12 the vast majority of the time…by about a DECADE.
Say it now …and then stop reading this and tune into your thoughts. What did you hear? Did you hear a little voice snap right back trying to squash your dreams?
For example, perhaps you said, “I want to be a size four,” and that nasty little doubting voice said, “you’ll never do that because you like jelly donuts too much, you…!”
Now you know you are utterly normal.
Or you said, “I want to be a famous author,” and that voice came back with, “yeah right! You couldn’t write three sentences on a napkin…!”
Same thing. You are normal…
It’s time you begin to develop an inner censor.
No, you’re not going to listen to that voice. Rather you’re going to recognize every time it pops up and says something nasty.
Then you’re going to take that nasty thing it says, turn it into a focused or positive intention, and then re-affirm the concept throughout the day and, more importantly, throughout the night….over and over and over, until you’ve successfully squashed that doubting voice.
Want more help, or crave more information on this topic? I’ve identified 12 of the life patterns which cause us to trip up – and make the same mistakes again and again. To discover which of the 12 patterns you have been the victim of and how to eliminate self-sabotage in your life (or those of your clients) you can pick up the program below.
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