May 17, 2016
Question: Why do we resist change and why does making changes seem so difficult sometimes, even when we are unhappy?
The answer is not exactly mathematical but, in general, the mind resists changing for three specific reasons.
The first reason is that we are creatures of habit and we have a tendency repeat the same behaviors over and over again for so long that we think it is the only way. In other words, we lose our ability to see that we can change or that something needs to change, because we (literally) cannot imagine an alternative.
The second reason that the mind resists change stems from our unchecked and deeply held (and usually self-limiting) beliefs. Fear of failure is a big one here—that is, the thought that failing is exclusively bad. So, many people chose to “play it safe” even when they are bored, unhappy, or feeling lifeless. In their mind, those emotions in the present are better than that possibility of failure in the future. So, they choose not to make changes. Importantly, fear of success is also a HUGE reason that folks resist changes. In a nutshell, becoming successful is a mentally stressful proposition for some people because moving up in the world means moving into the unknown. And, all the toxic “what ifs” live in the world of the unknown. While it is usually a subconscious decision, many people resist change because, for them, the familiarity of the present (however miserable it maybe) outweighs the unknowns of the future.
The third reason that folks resist making changes is because of the company that they keep. Like crabs in a stove-pot who pull each other back into the water time after time—even as they cook—it can be very difficult to rise out of the situations that surround us and leave the comfort and security of those we know. Making a change and evolving can mean literally—that is, physically—leaving a social group, yes. But, more often than not, it means mentally and spiritually leaving behind the specific ideas, ideals, and perspectives of those around us. When we begin to challenge the status quo, it is likely that we will be met with some push-back. Change is difficult in this situation because it boils down to a basic lack of support as well as the absence of a shared vision and role-models, so it feels easier to just stay the same.
Have you been meaning to make a change? What’s the challenge?
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.
Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com
His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.
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