Being seduced by the comfort of routine and the known is one of the ways we limit ourselves. Doing more about our inertia, we can grow more effectively toward who we want to be.
Inertia is the concept in classical physics that a physical object resists any change in its state of motion.
But doesn’t that also apply to ruts in our attitudes and behaviors?
For example, I may understand that a change would be a good thing – such as being more social and connecting with more people who would appreciate my sites and possibly enhance my business success – but being more social is “not natural” for me. I’m more comfortable being reclusive. So I change little, or only slowly.
Positive change may require some discomfort, and alterations in our beliefs.
Laura Berman Fortgang quotes William Shakespeare in her book Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction :
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
Fortgang explains how we may limit making changes even though they might be just what we need: “Reasons for why a given change will be hard, difficult or even impossible are always plentiful, but whose reasons are they?
“Most of the time, the logical explanation or circumstantial evidence we come up with when confronted with the prospect of change is societal, and doesn’t stem from our own personal heart and mind. And these explanations are only true if you let them be true.
“It becomes your job to disprove logic and naysayers, even if you yourself are the source of both.”
Anais Nin made some very stimulating observations on the complexity of our personal growth, saying “We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially.
“We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
Strong feelings and change
In his post Have you hugged your anger today?, Christopher J. Coulson writes about one of our “negative” emotions:
“Deep, dark, surprising and frightening, our ability to feel anger is one of our most powerful weapons in building a liberated and empowered life.
“It enables us to build friendships and other growth-oriented alliances. It keeps us safe from attack. It motivates us to make the changes essential to a rich and fulfilled life.”
Is any pursuit of growth or change positive?
With all the media attention on personal growth gurus – and their books and programs – it is worth asking ourselves whether there really is value in putting time and energy into a particular product or pursuit.
In her article When Personal Development Equates to Progress, Adrienne Carlson comments, “One of the buzzwords we hear being bandied about regularly today is personal development. We’re all being told that we must do more to develop ourselves and become better people in the process, both professionally and personally. But the question is, are we really developing personally because of all the activities we undertake?”
Does change have to be hard?
In his article Behavior Change Doesn’t Have to be Difficult, Morty Lefkoe, founder of The Lefkoe Method, notes “Although most therapists would agree that behavior change usually is difficult and does not happen overnight, I disagree with that assessment.”
Lefkoe and his associates have used his Decision Maker Belief Process to “eliminate the beliefs that cause our behavioral and emotional patterns.
“Some of the feeling patterns that clients have presented and gotten rid of after eliminating the underlying beliefs include fear, hostility, shyness, anxiety, depression, and worrying about what people think of them.
“Behavioral patterns eliminated included phobias, relationships that never seem to work, violence, procrastination, unwillingness to confront people, eating disorders, drug and alcohol addiction, and sexual dysfunction.”
[Photo: Emily Browning, Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004).]
Lefkoe writes: “Assume your parents were very critical of you most of the time and rarely acknowledged you for your achievements. No matter what you did, they focused on what you didn’t do and how you should have done better.
“If this was the pattern of their interactions with you, there literally would be thousands of them by the time you were six or seven years old. What would you have concluded about yourself by this time?”
You can try a free sample of the Lefkoe Method at Recreate Your Life.
My article: Ruts and Change and Passivity