Change is harder and easier than it sounds

Change is harder and easier than it sounds

Somewhere in your life exists an Archimedes’ lever.

The thing with the Archimedes’ lever, though, is that the end of it may seem completely unrelated to the actual thing you’re looking for.

When I wanted to quit smoking, I started by making my bed. I didn’t know it was the lever at the time.

It was the thing I could least control. I saw a psychologist. He told me to try and get up on the other side of the bed, to brush my teeth with my other hand…to do things differently than I previously had, just to prove that I could. So I tried those things.

And I started making my bed.

For months, I sat with the question “What makes you think you can’t change?”

And then one day, I stopped asking.

Around the same time, I finished my last ever pack of cigarettes.

People don’t change

(Unless they want to)

Humans are unique in their ability to willingly change. We can change our attitude, our appearance and our skillset.

But only when we want to.

The hard part, then, isn’t the changing it.

It’s the wanting it.

Seth Godin

Perhaps, then, the lever is finding a way to want it badly enough.

A disciple asks the rabbi: “Why does Torah tell us to place these words upon your hearts? Why does it not tell us to place these holy words in our hearts?”

The Rabbi answers: “It is because as we are, our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the holy words in our hearts. So, we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks and the words fall in.”

Jerry Colonna in Reboot (thanks to Rohan Rajiv for sharing)

Maybe you can gather enough—enough desire, enough words, enough encouragement—that it breaks through and change becomes easy.

I tried to quit smoking a bunch of times before I did. I tried to learn how to cook a bunch of times before I did. I tried to start exercising, read more, “get organised” for years before I actually did.

If you want to change something and you haven’t found the thing that works for you yet, don’t you worry, you’re probably just placing words upon your heart. Keep placing.

Most things that change our lives only have to happen once.

If you can replace a bad habit with a good one, you’ll live with the benefits for decades.

The challenge is to set up systems that are likely to create habits, not sprints that lead to failure.

Seth Godin

This blog is about setting up systems like that.

I’ll keep writing. I hope that you keep reading.