Do you know what the biggest lie we tell ourselves is?
I cannot change.
This false belief is at the core of why so many people get stuck in a rut, living out the same old thinking and behavioural habits, often for years.
It is also apparent that one of the most common, if not THE most common, challenges in business is how to implement meaningful change and have it stick.
However, something that has also become crystal clear to me is that, on an individual basis, change happens in an instant.
It does not need to take years of thinking about something, waiting for the right time, waiting to feel right or using will power.
If you look back in your life you can always find examples of when change happened smoothly and naturally, and when you understand the mechanism it makes future changes so much easier and pain free.
A brilliant example of instant change came to mind.
I was over in the US, spending two days with George and Linda Pransky of Pranksy and Associates. I have learned a huge amount from them and their understanding of human psychology is right at the cutting-edge.
Linda wanted to do a demonstration of how change works so she asked for a volunteer. She wanted someone who had a particularly persistent problem or issue in their life.
A guy called Andy raised his hand and Linda asked him what he wanted to talk about.
He explained that he had an issue with his father that had caused him a great deal of anger in his life and it all stemmed from one incident (that happened many years previously).
Apparently, when Andy was a little boy of about 5 years old the housekeeper thought it was funny to teach him swear words.
One evening, at the family dinner table, Andy had finished his food and was playing under the table. He started repeatedly saying one of the words he had been taught.
I won’t spell what he said but it had four letters and started with ‘F’. You can imagine the rest.
Well, on hearing this Andy’s father put his hand under the table, grabbed the little boy, yanked him out and put him under his arm whilst striding towards the kitchen shouting…
“How dare you say that, I’m going to burn your tongue off!”
And he opened the oven door as if to put Andy’s head there (which he didn’t do, by the way).
Ever since then, Andy had this intense anger of the incident and towards his father.
Linda asked Andy if he had his own children. He said yes.
She asked if he loved them. He said yes.
She asked Andy if he thought his father loved him. He said yes.
She asked Andy if he had ever got angry in the moment with his children. He said he had.
Linda, whilst acknowledging that Andy’s fathers behaviour was extreme, intense and questionable, asked Andy if he thought it came from a place where he had his best interests at heart?
Andy reflected without saying a word and we all sat there in complete silence. After a couple of minutes he looked back at Linda and quietly said…
In a single moment all of Andy’s anger had gone, never to return. Fifty years of it, then gone. Instead peace.
So, what happened?
Andy experienced a leap in consciousness. He experienced a new reality because his thinking no longer looked real to him – it therefore had no power over him.
Whenever we truly change – lose weight for good, give up an addiction, stop playing the victim, become a more powerful coach, adviser, planner, or leader, build a better business, re-invent ourselves, re-build a relationship – it is always when we have a shift in consciousness.
Change very rarely happens when we try to think our way into it.
As soon as we see the connection between our thoughts and our feelings, it loosens the grip that thinking has and allows new thinking to come forth.
This is what happened with Andy. Of course, Linda knows what she is doing but that same capacity for change resides in all of us, all of the time.
Change is only ever one thought away.