Lifestyle Design- Why Changing is so Hard – Part 2

Anonymous portrait of the child Mozart, possib...

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If you missed part one of Why Changing is so hard you might want to read it first. 

You can Change!

The ability to change yourself is one of the things that distinguishes humans from animals. Humans can transform themselves. They can visualize a different version of themselves and make decisions that make that vision a reality.  It’s not a fantasy that happens quickly like magic. It takes a long time and requires work and commitment . Most people, however, refuse to believe that change is possible for them. You will hear them say things like “That’s just the kind of person I am.”, “I could never do that.” They believe that people are born with talent, skills and attitudes. They don’t believe that the skill they observe in other people is the result of years of effort. And they refuse to accept their potential for change.  And so they suffer.

Weight is an example.

I started with weight as an example of change because we all know that our weight is a result of  lifestyle decisions and is something that we can control. We observe fit people who get fat and fat people that get thin, Nobody can deny that weight can change when you change your  lifestyle. If you become unhappy with your weight, you can make a decision and change it. Even though most people will not make that decision, they still believe that it is something that they can control – if they choose to.  At the same time, people accept their personality, social skills and fiscal discipline as fixed and unchangeable. They are not willing to even consider the possibility that they can become more relatable, socially confident and wealthy just by learning and applying new concepts and practicing new skills.

Talent is Overrated

We hear that people are innately talented. That they are ‘born’ athletes or ‘natural’ musicians but it is nothing but an old wives tale. In Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin proves that it is really hard discipline, superior teaching and years of practice that produce talent. “What about Mozart and Tiger?” you ask. Geoff will explain. Taking it down a notch. When you see people who are more talented than you, the easy out is to say that they were just born with talent. Most of us have accepted that explanation- not because we know that it is true but because we hear it repeated around us. In addition, it gets us off the hook for explaining why we aren’t as good. If all it takes practice to get good at something then we have no excuse for doing anything badly- long term. If you want to be as good as X then you need to work as hard as X.

The point is that there is no innate ability. There is no barrier to mastering an activity. All that is required is the commitment to become good at a new skill. Just like you can change your body through exercise and diet, you can change your abilities through dedicated effort over time . Don’t be persuaded that you cannot do anything. It may require work and time but if you want to learn something, you can do it.

Accept the Power! 

Change is a powerful potential that only humans possess. Don’t allow yourself to believe the lies about innate talents. Anyone can learn and master. If you work hard enough and stay at it long enough you can catch or surpass people you consider masters. It may not be easy and you many not choose to invest the time and effort to make it happen, but don’t delude yourself any further that you don’t have what it takes to compete.

 Take Charge.

Now you know that change is possible and that there is no innate talent, you are ready to look at your life and make some decisions. Where do you want to go? What do you need to master to get there? Are you willing to make the investment in yourself to make it happen?

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • hansi August 4, 2011, 9:11 am

    I’m enjoying both of your posts on change.
    hansi’s last Blog Post ..Chain Letters

    • Ralph August 4, 2011, 10:26 am

      So Hansi what are you going to do about all that enjoyment?

      • hansi August 6, 2011, 6:54 am

        Actually what I meant was I’m taking in what you’re saying, assimilating it (like the Borg do on Star Trek, but really don’t have a witty, let alone thoughtful reply to make. My most recent post ” Do blogs evolve?”, which you just commented on, is part of the change process I’m going through right now, and coming to grips with.
        hansi’s last Blog Post ..Do Blogs Evolve?

        • Ralph August 6, 2011, 7:31 am

          I guess what I hope might happen for readers of the posts is some action. A decision to change in some way in order to live in a more satisfying way. Taking it in is certainly a start but doing something to change because you want more is what I’d like to hear about. I think you commented somewhere about picking up again with drawing after letting it slide for a time. That is one possible action. Mending a relationship gone bad might be another. It is pushing yourself to explore and engage in new, unexplored territory that you never thought you had any place in.

  • Bill Murney August 6, 2011, 8:25 am

    Ralph, the crux of the matter is you have got to want to change and most people don’t.

    As for talent, pratice makes perfect as I found out in my working days. The harder you work at something, the better you get, end of story.

    A-U-L, UK
    Bill Murney’s last Blog Post ..A Postcard From Madeira – 1

    • Ralph August 6, 2011, 8:34 am

      Very true Bill. What is amazing is when you look at yourself and decide that you are good enough. If you can lie like that to yourself then why should anyone believe you?

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