Change is Hard

As I mentioned yesterday, Leah and I are starting a book on how to overcome our resistance to change. One insight we’ve had is that our willingness to change doesn’t seem to depend on the possible reward for change, but rather our perceived likeliness in getting that reward vs. the perceived sacrifice involved.

For example, it’s possible that if you were to learn web developing, you could become the next Mark Zuckerberg, a multi-billionaire in just a few short years. Fame and loads of money are powerful motivators for most of us, so why don’t we all do it? Because we have a low perceived likelihood of that happening.

To be fair, that is an extreme case. We aren’t all going to start the next Google, Twitter, or Facebook. That said, there are more jobs in web developing than there are people to fill them, making the odds of getting a job fairly high. Many of these jobs pay good money, too. You don’t even need a degree for most of them, either. So even if you don’t hit your goal of being the next web billionaire, you can still significantly improve your life.

It’s something we often miss with our goals. Many of us have a tendency to look at the best that could happen, then tell ourselves we could never do that, and so don’t even try. We miss out on all the benefits that a change is more likely to bring.

Ah, but many of us don’t want to be web developers. We don’t have the interest or we think we can’t learn it. That’s the other half. We tell ourselves that no amount of effort will get us to the change we need and so no effort at all should be expended. We give up before we even start or at the first sign of any difficulty.

I believe that procrastination is not the cause of our resistance to change, but a method we use to resist it. Even our misconceptions of the rewards and sacrifices involved in change, though closer to the cause, do not seem to be the root causes of our recalcitrance. The root cause is always in our heart, not our head. We’ll get to that more next time.

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