You remember Ebenezer. He was visited by 3 ghosts one Christmas eve and woke up a changed man. Well I’m in the business of helping people change and if you want results like this please give me a call. I make selfish, arrogant, mean spirited people wake up the next day exceptionally kind, unselfish, and cooperative. If that were only true…
The reality is that change is very difficult for most people over the age of 12. By the time we are adults, we are stuck in our ways many times over. Our annoying tendencies irritate our families at home and coworkers on the job. As much as we would like to change other people, the truth is that other people are very hard to change. If you are counting on someone else changing to make your life better, you are going to be disappointed.
However we can change ourselves and others can change themselves if they are sufficiently motivated. Let’s talk about each of these.
Changing ourselves. I highly suggest that you make it your goal to continue to improve for the rest of your life. People around you are hoping you’ll change. Almost no other goal will create as much success and personal satisfaction as this. The most successful people you know have done this for years and that is why they are so successful. You will be more successful and dynamic for the rest of your life if you do this too. It just won’t be easy. It will be painful. Just know that pain is the price of change. How? Set some goals to be better looking, a better listener, more giving, and more responsible. Then ask someone to hold you accountable for those goals. That should hurt, er… help you change.
Changing others is a whole different ball game. Nobody can really change anyone else. You can’t change a single employee, family member, or friend. We can create consequences that seem to cause others to change but remove the consequences and what do you have? the same behavior usually returns.
So what should we do about this? The first thing is the case of responsibility. Make sure to accept 100% responsibility for all your actions. Don’t blame other people. Don’t make excuses. If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.
Secondly, make sure you accept 0% responsibility for everyone else’s actions (unless they are your minor children). People who take on responsibility for other adults live frustrating lives and actually impede the progress of the other person.
Remember that your job may include creating those consequences for other people to change … or else! If you supervise other people or you’re a parent, this is a necessity. Just be sure to include real unconditional love with those consequences especially for your children and also for your employees.
Finally, realize that you being willing to change and improve will be a powerful incentive to others to be willing to do the same. Sometimes we admire other people that perform exceptional feats and want to emulate them. We call them heroes. You can be a hero for those around you.
We want the people we live with and work with to change for the better. Well they want you to change too. Let’s take charge of changing ourselves first and being catalysts for others to change. Ebenezer did it in one night. I guess we can take a little longer.