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Why is change so hard?

Change is difficult for all of us. Whether it's moving to a new city or simply trying a new dish at your favorite restaurant - these inevitable shifts in our day-to-day lives take some getting used to. We get used to going through our daily routines - morning coffee, gym, off to work. The moment the coffee turns to tea, we panic. But what is it that makes us so hesitant to embrace change?

It's obvious. The reason we are all reluctant to change is because it's uncomfortable and, quite frankly, inconvenient. Though a change might be necessary of beneficial to our lives, we resist them because we are drawn to sameness. We find ourselves thinking, “Why change what already seems to be working?” This happens because, often times, we equate familiarity to safety, which is not always the case.

Though it seems like a daunting task to take on, transforming yourself into an avid agent of change is actually quite simple. This can be accomplished using authors Scott Keller and Colin Price's model for change entitled the 'Four Levers of Influence'. This model includes a central statement, "I will change my mindset and behavior if..." and fills-in the statement with affirmations corresponding to each of the four levers:

1) "...I understand what is being asked of me and it makes sense." (A compelling story),

2) "...I see that our structures, processes, and systems support the changes I am being asked to make." (Reinforcement mechanisms),

3) "...I have the skills and opportunities to behave in the new way." (Skills required for change), and

4) "...I see my leaders, colleagues, and staff behaving differently." (Role modeling).

This particular model is efficient in inspiring change because it doesn’t serve as a simple motivator. Instead, it encourages the user to approach change in a different manner. This forces the future change-agent to shift their pattern of thought, and thus, change their behavior. Keller and Price give one specific example when explaining how their model works: the concert hall and the soccer stadium. They encourage the reader to imagine that they are at a concert hall. Then, imagine a soccer stadium. In the first scenario, the atmosphere is generally calm with bits of excitement. In the second, the atmosphere is filled with energy and rowdiness. Keller and Price suggest that, though you have not changed, your environment has. This is relative to the Four Levers of Influence model because it is impossible to employ a ‘stadium’ mindset if your actions, thoughts, and behaviors suggest that you are in a concert hall.

Essentially, what this means is, if you want to change your mindset, you must create lifestyle conditions in which this new mindset can not only survive, but thrive.

This can be applied numerous places, whether it be an office environment or in our day-to-day lives. If we make the necessary efforts to live a lifestyle that is conducive to a fluid mindset, it is impossible for anyone to stop living in fear and embrace change.

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