Change is the one thing, paradoxically that’s happening all the time. Change is movement, no movement no life (of any kind).
We humans hate change! & We LOVE! Habit!
This isn’t because we’re all lazy – although we often are – it’s because change is unknown – potentially unsafe? Habit on the other hand is a known quantity, it’s safe. Even if it’s having a negative effect on us, those affect our known, quantifiable and therefore safe.
You see it’s our brain’s primary job to keep us safe, to avoid suffering or potential/real threat to our life. The problem with this is 1. It’s subject to the way we ‘see’ things & process things & 2. Given more than 5 seconds of mental pondering we will revert back (every time) to our existing habitual patterns – patterns that are often so habitual we have become totally unaware of.
A Breakdown of Change
Believing Is Seeing
I’m sure you’re all familiar with this image of the young lady looking away & the old lady looking to one side. Two images contained within one and depending on which you choose to focus on is the image you’ll see.
The same applies to everything in our lives. Dependant on our awareness & where we are developmentally is what we will focus on most and therefore see. It’s possible to have greater awareness but still only focus one one thing or a limited number of things because as I previously mentioned given the chance we will revert back to our existing, known, safe habits within seconds.
Developmental Stages of Self
When we’re born we are dependant on our parents for pretty much everything. It’s funny that people think of baby love as something lovely & ‘fluffy’ (and it kinda is but…) when a baby/young child doesn’t get what it needs/wants what often happens? Yep it cries, screams, rolls round on the floor & creates enough of an effect until you give it what it wants/needs.
Regardless of age we can revert back to this developmental stage where by if our want & needs are not met then we will do pretty much anything to get those wants/needs nourished.
This isn’t always bad, it’s a hard wired survival reflex. From a personal or professional viewpoint this is a highly conditional relationship. These kind of relationships are full of “if’s, when & because” and if these aren’t met then the love or relationship is with drawn until these needs are met regards of the (mental, emotional or physical) expense to others – just like the baby/young child.
So when we perceive something in life that challenges our own personal/professional sense of survival if we haven’t evolved mentally/emotionally past this primary ‘reptilian’/ highly conditional stage we go into this survival mode (often without knowing).
Time For Change
How many times have you said? “make time”? “Make time to…”
This is quite amusing if you think about it… unless you have the ability to time travel time can not be made. Time doesn’t pause or stop. It’s our choice how we manage our time, our life. Everything is a choice. Even choosing not to choose is a choice.
Procrastination actually comes in two forms. The ‘always tomorrow’ form is when we revert back to our know quantities, our safe zone and continue doing what we have always done. Letting our existing habits take control of us.
The second form of procrastination is actually a good thing! When we have an idea or notion and it stays in our consciousness we’re able to fine turn it, break it down – safe? Unsafe? Refine it again and again and allow us to believe YES “I’m going to give this a go” – regardless of the outcome – regardless of outcome is very important.
We are so programmed from such an early age that all mistake are bad. For sure some are but most are simply unlearnt lessons.
If scientist hadn’t made so many ‘mistakes’ so many of our medications & health protocols wouldn’t exist today & so many of us also wouldn’t exist!
When a F1 driver goes out and tries and qualify on pole it will likely take them in excess of a hundred or more laps! – not to mention all the track time done beforehand from past ‘experience’ & testing! Being a MOTO GP fan, F1 is dull enough but think how boring it would be if every driver came into the pits after they made a mistake & said “that’s it, I’m done”.
Knowing What’s Required vs Doing What’s Required
Most people know intuitively what’s required of themselves to create change.
So why is it so many don’t change? (or change for a little while like new year’s resolutions or diets then revert back doing what they did previously knowing in doing so they won’t achieve their given desires or goals).
Simple…but not easy…what we need to do to create change is often simple but forming new habits outside of our comfort zone isn’t easy. Not only is it not easy, our brain wants us back inside that comfort zone quick as possible because it’s safe!
It’s only when our brain learns through repetitive exposure to new habits (mental,emotional or physical) that outside of our comfort zone can also be safe – once we develop the new habit.
Psychologist have found if we don’t act upon something within 5 seconds chances are we won’t do it. Mel Robbin’s book The 5 Second Rule is a great read/audio!
Basically when we count backwards from 5 & make (yes I said make!) yourself do it! you ‘ll do it.
You see we’re hardwired that when we get to zero our brain expects action! Anything more than 5 seconds & it’s no good, your brain will dump you right back in that comfort zone, guaranteed!
Keep Doing It!
Nike’s logo ‘JUST DO IT’ is genius!
And not just the logo! Look at this image, it’s meme complex perfection!
Nike is named after the Greek God that could walk on air, that’s cool but many wouldn’t know that at a glance and who cares?
But look again. A huge tick (they call it a swoosh). From an early age a tick means it’s right and right is good! Right gets rewards, right is cool, everyone wants to be right because we fear judgement of being wrong so not being right means not belonging, not part of the crowd, standing out alone isn’t psychologically safe (unless you develop a good sense of self). JUST DO IT says NOW!!!!!! Not tomorrow or in a week or so or “I’ll get round to it” it says NOW! JUST DO IT. Genius!
Courage,Commitment & Confidence
So you are hopefully more aware now that change is multidimensional. It’s not going to stick if you only do one part, it’s not going to stick if you don’t do it often enough for it to become your brain’s new default goto habit and it’s not going to stick if you allow yourself to be distracted long enough (remember this can be a little as 5 seconds!) by anything that draws you away from change.
I said earlier that change is simple but I also said it’s not easy!
You need courage! – this is where the 5 second rule works great! Act within 5 seconds or you’ll likely lose that courage.
Old/existing habits were likely formed over weeks, months or years! So forming new habits may take as long!
This is where you need commitment! It’s not enough to think something can change & stick by doing it once, twice, for a few weeks or even months, the fact is you may need to consciously work on the rest of your life! But if what you desire aligns with your core values & dreams then it has to be worth it right?
It’s a Universal fact that what we focus on most we attract. Life energetically is like a boomerang, what we put out comes back.
When we cultivate courage and we apply the will power do it over and over – commitment – our confidence grows. It’s kinda like parachuting for the first time. First time you think you’re going to die, your palms are sweaty and you’re scared! Fast forward 10, 100, 1000 jumps later and you’re doing aerobatics tricks and seeing how late you can deploy your shoot and calling everyone “dude”.
When psychologists survey people with limited life left the one thing they all say is they don’t regret what they did in life, they regret what they didn’t do.
I genuinely hope that reading this article triggers the courage in you to do what you may have been putting off for years!
Tell that person you love them more often, get to bed on time, honour your body by moving it more, take up that class or course you’ve threaten to do for so long or book that holiday to where you’ve wanted to visit all your life, spend more time with the people who matter most or whatever nourishes you.
Note; You may initially think reading the quote by Rumi above I’ve just contradicted all I’ve just wrote…the funny thing is the more you get to know YOU so much else we think we needed or wanted becomes less important. We’re all beautifully different & diverse but we all have basic desire that when fulfilled so much else becomes less important.