Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Seeing the Stumbling Blocks

If you could be happier, healthier, or pick whatever "er" you like, why wouldn't you do it? I've thought about this mystery quite a bit over the past few years. Faced with either insanity (doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results) and positive change, some people choose insanity. Why? I've got a few ideas, but I'd love to hear yours.

#1. S--t is warm. Though we might be up to our ears in it, we know what we are dealing with. We don't like the situation, but we don't know what would happen if we change it. So, perhaps fear of the unknown is greater than fear of the known (even if we don't like where we are).

#2. We are clueless. Interesting studies show that we tend to influence and be influenced by our friends. After a while this can create a group-think. So, if all of my friends willingly put up with mistreatment, ill health, bad habits, it is pretty natural that I will. Because this is the group I hang with, I might not have any idea that life can be different. I have no desire to change my behavior because I don't know there is another way to live.

#3. One is the loneliest number. Because we tend to surround ourselves with those who think and act similar to us we worry that if we change they will reject us. Actually that is pretty sound reasoning. Think about it. You change your behavior and you, by implication, suggest that others in your group do also. Traitor! Better we all go down together than risk the change. This is one of the main reasons that AA suggests to it's members to change their friends.

#4. No one else to blame. This I believe is the most powerful reason people choose not to embrace positive change. If I take control and change my life, I am fully responsible. There is no one else to blame if something doesn't work out. It is easier to just stay where I am and blame my situation or other people.

These are just a few ideas about why people might not embrace positive change, but they concern me. Helping people achieve their personal greatness is a passion and a quest. These are just some of the stumbling blocks. Perhaps if we can identify them, we can help get them out of the way. What other stumbling blocks have I missed?


Dave Wheeler said...

My favorite quote regarding "stumbling blocks" is by Randy Pausch (of "Last Lecture" fame)..."The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"

Sometimes our own lack of dedication or passion for the journey is our biggest stumbling block... not the things that we see as obstacles.
D.Mark Wheeler

Greatness Project said...

Great point. Dr. Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania has done some amazing research on grit. The ability to persevere is one of the keys to success. Thanks for sharing Randy Pausch's comment.