The Frog and the Hot Water

If you take a frog and drop it into a pot of boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out. The situation it’s in is so uncomfortable and got that way so quickly that jumping out is a natural reaction. If you drop the frog in cool water, however, and slowly heat the water to boiling, the frog will sit there contentedly until it dies.

It sounds ridiculous, but most of us aren’t really that different. Think of a situation in your life that, if you could wave a magic wand and change it, you would. How did it get to be like this? In most cases, it probably wasn’t overnight. Perhaps you can’t even pinpoint when or how it began. You just know you’re dissatisfied.

If Queen Elizabeth were to wake up one morning to find herself living in a farmhouse in Kansas, she’d probably freak out a bit. At the very least, she’d be greatly confused and seek to change her situation immediately. For someone who graduated college, intent to make their mark on the world, but got roped into managing the family farm when their dad got too old or who married a farmer, the change was a lot subtler. That person would wake up at home and just wonder how they got so far from their dreams.

Our situations are rarely the result of instant changes. Even if your spouse leaves you, there were probably warning signs beforehand. Somewhere along the way, he or she (and probably both of you) became increasingly dissatisfied until the other person could take it no longer and left.

Likewise, it’s unreasonable to expect that our positive changes are going to instantly transform our lives. We have to change our habits, our thought patterns, and most of all, our hearts. This takes a lot of work.

Research shows that it takes 30 days to form new habits. Changing thought patterns can take longer, especially if they’re ingrained. Changing your heart can take years.

If you’re looking for a quick fix to your problems, it might be best to question how much that fix would actually help. It might change your situation, but that would be temporary if your heart and thoughts don’t change, too. It is better to find where your particular situation started and think of how to go about changing it, knowing at the onset that it will likely take months of hard work before you start getting the results you want. First, though, question whether you want to remain in this water as it slowly heats up.

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