Can I Change?

At a two-day workshop I ran earlier this week, I had one person who made a comment "I can never change, I've been like this all of my life". What disappointed me was I had just spent 2 days telling him that he could change....

Maybe there are some people that just don't want to change, perhaps that's more to the point.  If you want to make a change in your life you have to be open to suggestions and then to work hard at making the change.  There is no quick fix to changing a life-time of habits, sorry. 

Let's start at the beginning - apart from genetic differences most of us are born the same.  By this I mean that we don't have habits, perceptions, fears, prejudices, or the myriad of other factors that get in the way of living life. To prove this fact, take a moment to watch very young children playing in a Kindergarten. They will play together, share toys, laugh at each other, help each other, and enjoy their own company regardless of how their friends look and behave.

As we grow and learn, our brain starts to take on the factors mentioned above, and with these we form our habits.  The good news is that just as a habit is learned, it can be unlearned by repetition. 

Take the example I started with, the man who said he could never change.  He said that as he had come from England and went straight into the military from High School, he had such a structured upbringing he could never change.  I asked him if during his military career “had the army ever changed the weapons they used in combat”.  “Of course they did” he replied.  And how did you learn to use that weapon, of course by repetition.  He stopped and pondered, oh I get it now.

Yes, it takes time.  And yes, it is damn hard work.  Don't believe those who tell you it takes 21 days to change a habit, it takes about 60 to 66 days.  However, you will notice a slight change after 21 days and it becomes easier from that point forward.

A leopard cannot change its spots because that is their genetic makeup.  What they can do is learn to hunt a different way.  You can too.