“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Change or die.
If those were your only choices, would you embrace the necessary, potentially difficult transformation required to live? Or, would you persist with status quo, assume your fate and accept death?
That was the question posed in a book I enjoyed a decade ago by author Alan Deutschman. The book’s daring title is, by the way, Change or Die.
The answer seems so obvious.
In theory, if we were presented with the choice as dramatic as life or death, of course we’d make required changes, right?
Contrarily, Change or Die shares research analyzing everything from diets and relationships to corporate structures and prison recidivism, sharing that the reality is very different. Patterns in our relationships, diet, work and life are so ingrained that the vast majority of us are more willing to quietly slip into the night, than to boldly change and live.
Ah, but there is hope!
This book shares three keys that empower people and organizations to accept change, avoid death and thrive forward.
- Relationships: Changing by yourself is almost impossible. Research revealed that having an accountability partner, workout buddy, coach, or support group helped in sustaining change. Those who made real change first formed community, then became responsible to one another and finally became accountable for their own actions.
- Habit: We become what we repeatedly do. The individuals and organizations that sustained change built it into their days. With the community providing accountability, different choices were being made so frequently that the brain itself was being rewired. What once seemed impossible, became difficult, then simply irritating and eventually second nature.
- Hope. The final piece that allowed individuals and groups to move forward and sustain change was a compelling purpose. Knowing their purpose and believing in the worthy goal they were pursuing, they were empowered to endure repeated difficulties on the journey forward.
Surprisingly, what we’d think would be the most likely catalyst for causing change, fear, doesn’t work. Fear may create short term tweaks in behavior, but it has little bearing on long-term decisions or sustainable results.
(I was reminded of the difficulty of forming new habits during my most recent Live Inspired podcast interview with Christine Hassler, bestselling author and counselor. She spent much of her life chasing someone else’s dream until she made up her mind to change her path and today: She empowers thousands of others to do the same. Check it out here.)
So, change or die?
The choice between the two extremes is simple. It’s just not easy.
Choose today to lean into others and create an accountability system for each other. Together, you can choose to replace life-depleting habits with those that spark creativity, health, vibrancy and life. (I’m launching Live Inspired Studio for this very purpose soon. Sign up to learn more and get updates.)
Because, ultimately, the secret of change is not in fighting the old, but in focusing your energy on building the new.
This is your day. Live Inspired.
This was originally posted on JohnOLearyInspires.com. When John O’Leary was 9 years old, he suffered burns over 100% of his body and was expected to die. He is now an inspirational speaker and bestselling author, teaching 50,000+ people around the world each year how to live inspired. John’s first book, ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life was published March 15, 2016 and was an instant #1 National Bestseller. John is a contributing writer for Huff Post and Parade.com. John is a proud husband and father of four and resides in St. Louis, MO. Order John’s book today anywhere books are sold.