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Why Do We Resist Personal Change

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Over a period of 35 years I have helped people from all walks of life make sweeping changes to their lives. It's been a magnificent journey but what surprises me is the resistance people have to improvement that seems essential.

Take J for example: A successful lawyer, mother and a woman in the late throws of terminal cancer. She was with me because 5 years of fighting the cancer hadn't worked. She'd been to every corner of the globe looking for answers. It was now, too late. All her work, wealth and success was of no value to her, life was now painful and an act of survival. You would think a person in this situation would welcome personal change, but instead, J, just wanted to tell me her story. Here it is:

"I was a selfish child and Ive been a selfish adult. I've done everything to be unselfish to my children, partner, work colleagues and clients. I've done everything, workshops, books, prayer, therapy. But I'm selfish." I asked "how did you come to this conclusion?" Sobbing she replied "My mother tells a story of me as a 3 year old child and the two of us being destitute, in poverty, lost, and down to our last piece of bread. My mother gave that bread to me to stop my crying and I threw it in the mud. It was, according to my mother, a defining act of selfishness." I asked her "if it was the last piece of bread, how are you alive now?" - tears filled her face, snot ran from her nose, drool from her mouth, years of pain, released itself. A realisation that self hate, unjustified self judgement that may have been a big part of her illness, was a huge part of her self sabotage in life, was built on a myth. Build on a story made for theatre and not for real life. Her love, her energy, her gift somehow blocked and yet, she tried to invest herself in personal growth for 30 or more years, including yoga, meditation and guru's. (plus many surgeons and doctors).

Nobody is claiming here that if she'd found this myth earlier things would be different in regard to her cancer. However, the path of self sabotage, judgement and pain she'd taken could have been far less energy consuming and therefore, the better part of her may have surfaced as she'd dreamed for life. Her work may have been far easier and her love life far less reactive. One cannot promise a pain free road through personal growth, but the quality of the time, the result of the efforts must be greater otherwise it is not growth.

I have thousands of stories like this. Stories of incredible courage where people face hardships, stress and illness with the bravery of a warrior and yet, to no avail. Nothing changes until something changes, and the real change is not only what we think, but how we think. Change begins with the realisation that we are holistic, that a change of mind must be married to a change in health, a change in health to a change of heart, a change of heart must be intrinsically linked to a change of priorities and a change in priorities to a change in wealth, all of which comes to a change in self talk. It's a holistic awareness that specialists cannot have. Personal change needs to be driven by an overview effect linking one aspect of life to the next. Change one change all. Otherwise it's simply fire fighting. Sending problems from one area of life to the next.

When I went through a divorce I saw a therapist who sorted me out. Or did she? Soon after my therapy I got a kidney stone and was exhausted for months, when I got over this, my money was gone, when I got over that, my self respect was in the toilet, when I got over that my relationship problems started again and I needed therapy. Nothing changed really. I just shifted problems from one part of my life to another. From a place I felt pain in, to a place I didn't care about. Until the pain in what I didn't care about made me care about it. A crazy cycle, but I'm not alone in it. Am I?

Pain rarely motivates change. More often it anchors us in the present. Why?

When I had excruciating back pain before my back surgery, I developed a set of coping mechanisms. The pain was liveable only when those coping mechanisms were in place. To heal, I needed to let go the pain relief, my habits, in order to trust the new. Instead of pain motivating me to do new things, the pain motivated me to stay in my coping default state. To really break the chain of pain - coping - pain, I needed to experience the unknown, and it was a serious threat of potentially more pain. I just didn't think I could handle more pain, so I stayed in coping defaults, far too long.

The Guru

The promise of release from suffering must come from a guru. Call it the doctor, coach, surgeon, professor, boss, property developer, plumber or masseur, it must come from a person you believe will heal you. Guidance out of suffering needs the confidence, experience and trust of a guru. Pain doesn't motivate us to change, the promise of relief from suffering does. And when suffering goes on long enough, our ego is willing to surrender to a guru, to lead us out of it.

Finding a Guru

My brand is "Chris Walker - The Anti Guru Guru" - it's a play on the propensity for western people to empower an eastern teacher (usually Indian) with trust that may not be well earned. When an ego has had enough suffering it asks for sunlight, leadership and guidance and in this state we are vulnerable to fraudulent promises. Follow a few of those disappointing roads and quite often self medication becomes the only perceived solution. And self meditation, just like tickling ourselves, doesn't work. Does it!

Making Personal Change Easier

I believe that personal change can be easy if you recognise that changing one thing in your life just isn't change at all. If you change one thing, it impacts other things. If you change how you think it changes how you feel and if you change how you feel it changes how you walk and if you change how you walk it changes how you talk and if you change how you talk you change what people think about you and if you .... I can go on....

 

I created the Back on Track Power Hour so that personal change can be easier and faster. It's a daily routing that blends into your normal day without adding a single extra chore but guarantees personal growth without reading a single Self Help book.

I believe that personal change can be easy if you recognise that changing one thing in your life just isn't change at all. If you change one thing, it impacts other things. If you change how you think it changes how you feel and if you change how you feel it changes how you walk and if you change how you walk it changes how you talk and if you change how you talk you change what people think about you and if you .... I can go on....

I created the Back On Track Power Hour so that personal growth becomes an automatic part of your day with no extra time or energy costs. It's a natural nature based sequence of seven small activities every day that takes the guesswork out of growing. It motivates growth because it rewards it daily. It deals with pain because it's a routine. It is not subject to large chunks of therapy or big time out's for coaching but instead is more like continuous flow with the guidance of a few minutes here and there with your guide.

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