Change is the essence of progress and in order to have growth at work and in our personal lives we need to be willing to commit to change. However, change can only be initiated as the result of a primary desire. Lasting change is possible only when the need and desire for change is both understood and internalized. People will not change until they are ready to change. No one can force you to change. No one can start the process of change for you, except yourself. As human beings, we have the ability to change anything and anytime we want. Are you ready to change?
Many people are “too comfortable” to initiate change. They are too comfortable to risk failure. If we do today what we did yesterday, we will get the same results tomorrow that we are getting today, or worse. To achieve any level of meaningful improvement we must consider and implement change. In business, if you don’t improve, you will move back, because your competition will improve and pass you by.
Let’s say you want to lose weight. There are two variables that you can control, what you eat and how much you exercise. If you eat the same way today as you always have, and you don’t change your exercise habits, your weight won’t change. Now, let’s say you change the food you eat so that you are reducing fat and calories. Even if you don’t change your exercise routine, the change in food intake alone will change your weight situation. Likewise if you don’t change your eating habits but increase your exercise regime, you will burn more fuel and lose weight. Of course, the best thing to do would be to modify your intake and increase your outflow through a good exercise program. To maximize my performance as a runner I needed to lose some weight. I went on a low fat diet. Less than 25% of my calories were from fat. I also increased the frequency and length of my running workouts. As a result I lost 14 pounds!
It’s common and expected that people will try to stay in their comfort zone. This is an area where risk is minimal. Chances are not taken. Failure is not a consideration. This is where we’re “comfortable” and where we know we can “handle” almost any situation that comes up. Greatness does not exist in the comfort zone. The comfort zone is for people who are not looking to better their position in any of the seven major areas of life. To succeed in life one must recognize that “trips” out of the comfort zone are not only necessary but also required. Most people are afraid of change. However, it’s only through change that we can improve.
The space inside your comfort zone is finite, it is limited. The area outside the comfort zone is infinite, it has no limits. For example, if a runner can run a mile in seven minutes and always trains in his comfort zone, he will always run a 7-minute mile. Maybe he is happy with his time. If so, that is okay. All of his workouts will be similar, non-taxing, and he won’t test his ability. However, if he wants to improve, he must not only desire the improvement, but also be willing to leave his comfort zone so he can achieve long term success in running (his chosen area of desired success). By adding more difficult workouts to his training regime that push his limits, tax his respiratory system, jack up his heart rate, and increase the lactic acid in his bloodstream, he can improve and grow as a runner. His threshold will be raised and his time lowered. The change in the workouts may be somewhat uncomfortable or even downright difficult, but it is obligatory to improving performance and lowering times, which is the goal he established from his primary desires. The satisfaction of achieving his primary desire will be greater and last longer than the pain (price paid) he endured to achieve his primary desire.
The difference between the animals and human beings is that people have the ability to change. We can change our lives. We can change our surroundings. We can change our habits. We can change our future based on changes we make today! The salmon swim upstream every year at the same time. The swallows arrive at Capistrano every year at the same time. Grizzly bears crawl into their caves every year at the same time. But if you’re tired of your job, if you’re tired of your attitude, if you’re tired of your relationships, if you’re tired of your physique: if you want something better, you have the power to change and get what you want out of life. Human beings have the ability to change and to shape what they become.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you fulfilled all of your primary desires?
- Is the comfort level of what you have now more important than the unknown of working toward your goals?
- Will you be happy later in life if you haven’t put forth your best efforts to achieve your dreams?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” or you are unsure, then you should move forward by initiating change. Only through change can you break existing patterns and start new ones. By changing how you think and act, you can change your results. Apply this system both personally and professionally. By making changes in your attitudes and habits you will actually have a paradigm shift. You will be able to incorporate concepts and tasks into your plan that, before, you would have thought impossible.
If you have limited thinking, you will have limited plans. Change involves an expansion in thinking. A commitment to change means opening your mind, realizing the need to make improvements in your personal habits and behaviors and being able to consider new concepts so that you can have the creative plans necessary to achieve your primary desires. Make a personal commitment to change and growth will follow.