You See a Way or You See an Excuse

The title was inspired by a Tony Robbins ad I recently saw. Quotes like these always make it (life, solving problems, etc.) seem so easy. But, as most of us find out, words don’t really teach – experience does.


Why People Change

One of the things I learned from Tony Robbins is that, for those that have a difficult time making personal changes, need to find leverage. This usually involves making yourself, or specifically, the thing you want to change, so undesirable.

The reason is, even if the behavior is causing harm and you’re still doing it – there is some part of you or your life that is benefiting from it – which is why you still do it.

In order for you to change, or replace, that “X”, you need to make it as painful as possible.

An example Tony gives is how he got a guy to quit smoking. Basically, he told the guy to buy a carton of cigarettes and meet him in the smoking lounge at the hotel. (this was years ago, not sure if there are smoking lounges, now?)

So he told the guy to start smoking. Confused, the guy hesitantly began smoking his cigarette. And then Tony asked him to smoke another. And another. You can probably guess that, after a short period, the pleasure this guy once got from smoking turned to disgust in a matter of minutes. He couldn’t put another cigarette to his mouth without feeling nauseous.

Now, that may be extreme to some, but the point is his desire to change was now motivated by pain. He now related smoking as something undesirable. He made an emotional connection. 

Making an Emotional Connection

We are driven by emotion. We may not realize it all the time, or fully realize its power, yet, behind and in front of every action and thought, is our emotion.

I’ve actually tried a few times to make desired changes stick. It’s not that I don’t believe in it, I just haven’t gotten enough leverage behind my desires. When you’re comfortable – even when your situation is not ideal – it’s easy to revert back into it. Kind of like the saying, if it’s not broke don’t fix it.

For example, my desire to live in a more modern, luxury-type apartment. The one I’m at now – and have been for 10 years – is, cheap and, well, it works. But, I don’t feel that it fully represents who I am or would like to be. It’s time for me to move on and create a new home.

A Way or an Excuse

So, how do I approach it?

I think leaving in disgust or contemptment will not lead to the good start for my new home. In that case, I would be bringing along negative emotion. The better way would be for me to appreciate, and feel good about moving on.

Instead of looking down and feeling down about myself for living in a poor neighborhood, I’d be better off making a positive emotional connection by having the opportunity to experience the contrast of different home environments.

Contrast is at the heart of our experiences and desires.


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