Understanding The Myths Of Change

I started doing research a few months ago into how people respond to making changes in their life. I so often hear people say if only I could do this, or if only I could have done, that yet never actually doing anything about it. This left a big question that I decided to investigate. If people know what changes they wanted to make in their life, then what stopped the change from happening?

The research results were intriguing. If someone wants to make a change they must firstly become consciously aware about what needs to happen. This single finding alone means that all change occurs in the head and noticeably the difference between those who made the changes they wanted and those that didn’t was the ability to take an idea and turn it into reality. People who struggled with change were the ones who could get an idea out of their head to move it a long.

After many surveys and interviews it became clear that there were 5 main obstacles that consistently arose. As you read this blogpost you will understand “The Myths of Change” and how they can prevent you achieving your dreams.

A key point here is about taking action. You can just read this blog post, learn something new then go back to never doing anything with this new knowledge or you can take control and complete each exercise as you go through the workbook. You will get so much more by actually completing the exercises as you will get the learning on both an unconscious and conscious level.

So before proceeding to the first “Myth of Change”, please take a few moments to think about a specific change you would like to make in your life before completing the statement below.

The change I would like to make to my life is…

 

 

Myth 1: The Need Of Approval

“I won’t change as I am worried about what other people may think.”

In a recent interview controversial hypnotist Alex Smith stated something that really hit home to me about change. He said “You cannot please all of the people all of the time, but you can please a lot of the people, a lot of the time. Most importantly though, are you pleasing yourself?”

This reminded me that change is about something you want to do for yourself for a personal reason, yet many people in my experience do not make the changes they really want in their life as they are worried about what people may think

In my own experience, I learnt at the age of 27 that everything I was doing was in hope of gaining approval from someone important to me in my life. I had a very successful career but I did not enjoy my work and the role was never going to allow me to reach my goals, I was in a relationship for the sake of it yet to afraid too do anything about it and as a result I had piled on a lot of weight as I always felt something was missing in my life. I never took any risks, I played it safe and deep down I knew I was not truly happy with where my life was going.

It took an unfortunate incident to make me understand that this was the case.

I look back at the changes I have made in my life. I have a career I am in control of, passionate about, and feel is ethically good for the world. I have lost a considerable amount of weight and as a result my health is significantly better. And most importantly I found a partner who I experience true love with, that I can share my life with and who I can have many great experiences in the future.

So what changed for me to make all this happen?

Quite simply I stopped trying to please everyone else and spent some time working out what I really wanted for myself. Once I knew what I wanted I was able to communicate clearly with the people in my life. Instead of seeking approval I was able to work out who would support me in my change and the reasons for anyone who would not offer me support. From here I could make an informed decision about what action to take.

In the introduction I asked you to write a goal around the change to work on through this guide. What I would like you to do now answer the questions below:

  1. Who are the people in your life affected if you made this change?
  2. Do you need their approval in order to make the change you desire?
  1. What can you do to them to support your idea?
  1. What can you do if they do not agree with you?

By understanding what you want and why, you actually become stronger as human being as you have a purpose. Once you connect to this person, you will find your relationships with other people become stronger as instead of worrying about impressing them or what their reaction may be, you actually just enjoy spending time with them and building a great relationship.

Myth 2: The Rules Must Be Obeyed

“I cannot do that, I am not allowed, it says so in the rules!”

I watched a film by Kevin Smith recently called “Dogma”. In the film it showed an alternative view on Catholicism where characters claim that Jesus was in fact black and God is actually a women. The characters in this film had absolute trust in their belief that each of their opinion was the correct one.

A plot about changing the rules of life made me connect with a second myth that had come out of the research I had done. What do you trust?

You trust objects will do their specific job, such as buildings, bridges, chairs, cups, knives, forks and spoons.

You trust systems will do their specific jobs, like cash machines, kettles, light switches, mobile phones and if you’re lucky, your computer.

You trust that living things such as plants, animals, insects, bacteria, parasites and other people will behave in certain ways, good or bad. Think of someone that when you see him or her you want to get away. It is because you trust they will be consistent to their previous annoying behaviour. Similarly, think of someone that you really enjoy meeting, and again, it’s because you trust they will be consistent with their positive behaviour.

But you need a way to understand the world you live in, you need explanations for how things and systems and living things work. Think of yourself as an organisation, a collection of systems, and the following description of dogma will become clear:

Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organisation, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from.

You learn dogma from religion, science, family, friends, engineering, political and social groups, the media and countless other places. You develop an understanding of how to operate in the world, and this understanding becomes your unique dogma.

Your ability to update your dogma for a more useful one is in another skill. You trust that you can deal with the outside world consistently and effectively. When objects, systems, and living things fail to behave as you expect them to (against your dogma), you need a flexible trust that you can handle new situations as they arise.

A lack of trust and flexibility leads to anxiety and ruts.

So it boils down to trusting these 5 things, objects, systems, living things, your unique dogma and then trusting yourself, as this is the only area you have complete control.

A more useful dogma to adopt is one that allows for this greater flexibility. The first three areas, objects, systems and other living things operate to their own rules, and if you know the rules you can influence them, but you can only play to their dogma.

  1. What are the rules you live your life by today?
  2. How can you ensure these rules are giving you the control you need to achieve the change you desire?

By putting yourself in control and re-evaluating the rules you live by you are able to remove any obstacles caused by rules set for you in your past that no longer serve you the purpose the initially were intended for.

Myth 3: The Past Is My Future

“I never have been able to change so I never will change!”

I remember when I was seven years old people used to pass their concerns to my mother that I had an eating disorder as I was so thin. I think I spent the next 30 years putting weight on. No matter how hard I tried I could never consistently keep weight off, the moment something went wrong I made sure I had a nice big pepperoni pizza to keep me company.

Over the years I just accepted that I would always be overweight. Friends and family tried to help me but I just accepted that this would always be me, the overweight guy.

The thing is, I had not always been overweight, as a child I was the complete opposite. And again, the research I did around change was to show this was another myth. People do not change as they accept what has happened in the past will continue to be the same in the future.

How often have you heard people claim, “this always happens to me” or “I never have any luck”?

What this comes down to in how you filter and store an experience. You have five senses, sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Everything that happens enters you memory through a combination of these senses. Sometimes you make good memories; sometimes you make memories that really aren’t that useful to you and start to become an obstacle.

Your human nature is to be goal seeking, no matter what memory you are creating, you are laying seeds for you brain to pursue.

The more I accepted I would always be overweight, the more my unconscious mind served me to make this be the case. And as my mind thought this way, this perception is what the projection of a person I was in the world. An overweight guy.

After attending a Tony Robbins seminar and had one of the most amazing yet terrifying techniques known as the “Dickens Method” done on me, I saw my future much in the way Scrooge did in a Christmas Carol. If I do not make a change and do something about my weight, my future is not going to be good.

So what I would like for you to do now is ask yourself what your life will be like 5 years time, in 1o years time, in 20 years time if you do not change.

What experiences would you have missed out on in your life as a result of not stepping up and making the change you want in your life?

Myth 4: A Big Bag Of Excuses

“It is not my fault I was born this way!”

“Im big boned” or “In runs in the family” ….sound familiar to anyone. I also got something else out that Tony Robbins seminar. He quite vocally made it clear to me to stop making excuses and focus on the reasons for my weight. It was not to do with my family, it was nothing to do with being big boned, it was simply because I ate too much and did not get off my bum to do some exercise.

Myth 4 is simply about identifying all the excuses you use to defend or justify your current situation instead of stepping up to making a change.

My research showed many people saying “I will never find love” or “I’m just never going to be good at relationships”. I am sure you can apply Myth 3 to these statements as well but what challenges could be made to these excuses.

“I will never find love”? Have you actually tried looking, do you always go for the same type of person as they feel right, as they are what is familiar to you yet you are shocked when it does not work out. I think Einstein said it best with “the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”

“I hate my job, I never get a pay rise”? Have you worked out what job you would love, have you spoken to your boss about a pay rise, if he said no to your request to you agree an action plan for you development so you know how to get a pay rise in future?

Whenever an excuse is made, you must be harsh with yourself until you find the underlying reason.

Why did I never lose weight in past? Because I was lazy and didn’t do anything about it, it had nothing to do with my genes.

So what excuses are you putting up with in your life and how can you challenge yourself to find the underlying reason that you can act upon?

Myth 5: I Feel The Fear

“But what if the world ends as a result of me changing?”

Mihal Csikszentmihalyi is known for a theory called “Flow”. Have you ever experience doing something that without even thinking you just did it and you were just fantastic at it. No one could stop you. You were “in the zone”.

You enter this state when the challenge of what you are doing is not too easy that it is just routine and boring for you, yet also it is not too high when it scares you and you become anxious. You current skill set is perfectly matched to the challenge ahead of you.

So research showed, you are unlikely to make a change if it is too easy for you but even more unlikely to make a change if you felt the challenge is out of you control.

The problem here is, the more you worry and procrastinate about making a change, the more intense the fear becomes.

Have you ever watched a horror film and actually got really scared? Or maybe you were queuing for a roller coaster at a theme park and actually felt sick? Neither of these situations had actually been a true experience, just a thought in your mind yet you managed to get into what seemed a real state of fear.

By taking action and making a change you will learn far more, in a far less painful way as long as you check you progress towards your goal. You will also discover for real what will work in reality, not just in theory. And if it is not working, you can try something else. Real life experience makes a huge difference. Obviously asking an expert is a great way to make a start but only you will know what is right for you.

I want you to remember three times when you were in “Flow” state.

Flow State 1:

Flow State 2:

Flow State 3:

How did you feel, what kind of skills were you using and was there any commonalities between the “Flow” states?

What happens when you think about the change you want to make when using the feeling and skills from your previous experiences above?

Summary:

“The Key To Long Lasting Change”

By now you should have a great understanding of “The Myths of Change” presented in blog post. If you have not done the exercises, please do go back and complete each one to get the complete learning this course is designed to supply.

During reading this blog post you may have had some flashes of inspiration about what action to take. Please write these actions below with a date you will have completed it by.

Action 1:

Action 2:

Action 3:

There are seven keys to long-term change that I shall now share with you. Please make sure you can answer each one in relation to the change you wish to make in your life, and complete the workbook to remind you what you are promising yourself that you will achieve

  1. Make a decision on what your change will be
  1. Commit to making this change happen
  1. Take action to make this change happen
  1. Focus continuously on this change
  1. Get people to support you in your change
  1. Take small consistent action steps to achieving this change
  1. The real key to long lasting change is repetition

Love to know what you think of this blog post and how it has helped you. What have you discovered about yourself? Leave a comment and let me know!

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