Thursday, September 23, 2010

Willing to Change

You cannot course correct if you're not moving. So many people run up against unchangeable people who have seemingly unsolvable problems. We try to help by offering suggestions of what we did in our own lives, but the actions that brought us closer to success seem to be ineffectual in their lives.

This is particularly frustrating to people whose lives literally depend upon helping other make this change. Marketers and salespeople, lobbyists, counselors, activists, and evangelists alike make their living helping people to make a change. If we suppose these professionals are honest people representing an honest enterprise, then they are trying to help.

As the adage goes, one has to be "willing to change." This is true enough, but sometimes falls short of the total solution. A person can be self-deceived into thinking they want to change, but unconsciously undermine their own effort because they really don't want to. Even so, it is possible for a person to be willing to change, but not be able to change.

The reason is quite simply this: without a goal, dream, or vision that is vastly more desirable than the current set of circumstances, there is nothing to move toward. If there is nothing to move toward, there is no way to change your course. If a person is stuck in a rut of bad habits and bad thinking, the greater the rut the greater the need for a reason to overcome it.

A person can complain up one side and down the other about how terrible his life and the general state of things is, but without some clear picture of the better life he believes he can have, he will merely be swept to the grave on the conveyor belt of mediocrity. All the self-help books, therapy sessions, and liberal studies are just noise to a person who has no goal.

Help them discover their passion, then show (not tell) them how you can help them get it.

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