Dealing with the part that hates change

In becoming successful at anything, there’s something inside of most people that does not want to adapt to the changes that success will bring. It can be very strong on some, while barely there on other people. This element in ourselves is not easily seen, because it comes concealed by all the excuses it brings. “You are wasting your time” “Its not going to work”, “There are better things to spend your time and energy on”. These excuses become much louder as you get closer to attaining the goal. If you have ever read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow rich”, then you’re familiar with the concept that most people quit when they’re close to accomplishing their goal. In fact, this study by Kellog School of Management, is more exact at pinpointing the point at which most people lose motivation, which is at 50% of the way into reaching a goal. This means that the internal voice, which fabricates all the reasons and excuses to give up, is loudest at 50% into our projects. So most people’s reasons for failure is themselves. This is puzzling indeed. What is the reason for this? Why are we our biggest obstacle when it comes to succeeding at anything?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is a part inside of us that does not like change. It is stronger on some than on others. To see how strong it is on you, lets imagine accomplishing a very popular goal, to become financially successful. Imagine the luxury clothes, the big house, the luxury car, the new or changed relationships with friends. Can you visualize this clearly or do you have some trouble visualizing it? If you can clearly visualize it, then your subconscious is not strongly opposed to the idea. If you have trouble visualizing it, then there is a part inside that does not believe this new life would be a good idea or is even deserved. This subconscious part of you can vary in level of intensity from almost imperceptible, to very strong. For example, if you think the idea of imagining yourself as being rich is so improvable and ridiculous that is not even worth trying to do it, then this subconscious opposition is very strong in you.

This seemingly subconscious part of you that hates change is the ego. the ego’s greatest fear is discontinuity, end, this is why death is the greatest fear of the ego, but not only the death of your physical body, also the death of the ego itself, the death of relationships, the death of some possession or experience, etc, discontinuity of these things make the ego very scared. I will write in more detail in regards to this point but here’s a quick explanation on why the ego is scared of the end. The ego judges everything as good or bad, and it wants to hold on to anything it considers good and eliminate the “bad”. The ego loves to grasp to things that feel good for as long as possible no matter how unproductive or counterproductive this may be. For example, a dysfunctional relationship, a bad habit or addiction, your property, your looks, and everything else you posses. Then it personalizes those things and identifies itself with them. Since most people believe their ego IS who they are, and that they are nothing without their ego, they will believe that they are nothing without the things the ego identifies itself with, they seem to be part of your identity. So the idea of letting go of those things will seem like letting go of a part of yourself. So you can see how, for the ego, letting go of those things is almost like killing part of itself. If you understand this then you will understand why change can be a hard pill to swallow. Success means a change of life, it implies the end of your current “personality”, the end of being overweight, the end of being addicted, the end of being poor, etc. If you identify yourself with your ego, in other words, if you believe being poor, being overweight, etc, is what makes you who you currently are, then accomplishing any change will be extremely difficult. It will be like stepping into another reality, and stagnation will seem like the better choice.

The solution for this is applying a well known concept of physics, momentum. Momentum is the product of the mass and velocity of an object (Wikipedia). To apply this concept for our purpose, we replace mass with actions and velocity with frequency, the object is you. I will give an example of how this works. The subject of this example will be the person with the most grasping ego I have ever known, myself. I have always wanted to learn computer programming, but I could not spend the money in going back to school. After finding Coursera.com, a site that offers free online college courses, I decided to take a 6 week course on history, just to see if I would finish it. After I finished it I took 2 additional courses at the same time. One course in Logic, and one in Astronomy. At the end of those I decided to take a full 4 month free online course on computer programming. This led me to take a more involved 12 week course on building a whole computing system ( also free) which I’m in the middle of. This is a good example of momentum. Staring with small actions and setting small expectations while increasing them every time.

It is much easier to stop a slow moving bike than a full speed tractor.

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