Why is change so hard?

The deeper our attachment to whatever provides us with this sense of completeness, the greater our fear of losing it, and the more brutal our pain if we do lose it.

--Yongey Mingyur Ripoche

Why is change so hard?

Because of the intensity of the status-drop experience, many people go to great lengths to avoid situations that could put their status at risk. This aversion includes staying away from any activity they are not confident in, which, because of the brain's relationship to novelty, can mean avoiding anything new.

Paul's suggestion makes him look smarter, and Eric less smart. This impacts their relative status, which Eric is likely to fight against. The better Paul's answer is, the more likely Eric might resist it.

Sensing someone is trying to change you often creates an automatic threat response, linked to uncertainty, status, and autonomy. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, "I love to learn, but I hate to be taught."

--David Rock

Why is change so hard?

The brain region important for detecting novelty is called the anterior cingulated cortex (see diagram, Chapter 4). It's thought of as your error-detection circuit, because it lights up when you notice something contrary to what is expected, such as when you make a mistake or feel pain. This quirk of nature is harnessed by all forms of marketing and advertising, as well as by people seeking to meet someone of the opposite sex. Novelty gets attention. In small doses, novelty is positive, but if the error-detection circuitry fires too often, it brings on a state of anxiety or fear. This partly explains humanity's universal resistance to wide-scale change: big changes have too much novelty.

--David Rock

Why is change so hard?

To get moving involves the most energy.

--Physics

Why is change so hard?

Once the mind has accepted a plausible explanation for something, it becomes a framework for all the information that is perceived after it. We’re drawn, subconsciously, to fit and contort all the subsequent knowledge we receive into our framework, whether it fits or not. Psychologists call this cognitive rigidity.

--Ryan Holiday

Why is change so hard?

The more important your cheese is to you the more you want to hold on to it.

He had to admit that the biggest inhibitor to change lies within yourself, and that nothing gets better until you change.

In short, a change imposed is a change opposed.

--Johnson, Spencer

Why is change so hard?

Most patients have a very slight tendency to look at their character objectively. This is understandable because it is a matter of loosening the narcissistic protection mechanism, the freeing of the anxiety which is bound up in it.

If one lets the patient talk at random, one will find that the talking leads away from the problems, that it obscures them in one way or another.

I have experienced again and again, in myself and many of my co-workers, that the holding tight to rigid boundaries and laws has the function of sparing psychic unrest. While we keep the moving rigid, we fell remarkably less threatened than when we observer a moving object.

However, in order to break out of a prison, one first must confess to being in a prison. The trap is man's emotional structure, his character structure.

--Wilhelm Reich

Why is change so hard?

If, however, the impact of early experiences has been powerful enough to have molded the child to a rigid pattern, no new experience will be able to break through.

Behind the fear of changing are qualms about changing for the worse - that is, losing one's idealized image, turning into the rejected self, becoming like everybody else, or being left by analysis an empty shell; terror of the unknown, of having to relinquish safety devices and satisfactions hitherto gained, particularly those of chasing after phantoms that promise solution; and finally a fear of being unable to change - a fear that will be better understood when we come to discuss the neurotic's hopelessness.

In my experience every patient is averse to thinking or hearing of any limitation that might apply to him.

Resistance is a collective term for all the forces within the patient that operate to maintain the status quo. His incentive, on the other hand, is produced by the constructive energy that urges him an toward inner freedom. This is the motive power with which we work and without which we could do nothing. It is the force that helps the patient overcome resistance. It makes his associations productive, thereby giving the analyst a chance for better understanding. It gives him the inner strength to endure the inevitable pain of maturity, It makes him willing to take the risk of abandoning attitudes that have given him a feeling of safety and to make the leap into the unknown of new attitudes toward himself and others. The analyst cannot drag the patient through this process; the patient himself must want to go. It is this invaluable force that is paralyzed by a condition of hopelessness.

The patient may still be too paralyzed by hopelessness to consider the possibility of change. His drive to triumph over the analyst, to frustrate him, to let him make a fool of himself, may be stronger than his self-interest. His tendency to externalize may still be so great that in spite of his recognition of the consequences he cannot apply the insight to himself. His need to feel omnipotent may still be so strong that even though he sees the consequences as inevitable he makes a mental reservation that he will be able to get around them. His idealized image may still be so rigid that he cannot accept himself with any neurotic attitudes or conflicts. He will then merely rage against himself and feel that he ought to be able to master the particular difficulty simply because he is cognizant of it.

--Karen Horney

Why is change so hard?

The reason arguments do not work is that most people hold their ideas and values without thinking about them. There is a strong emotional content in their beliefs: they really do not want to have to rework their habits of thinking, and when you challenge them, whether directly through your arguments or indirectly through your behavior, they are hostile.

If their reform is too far ahead of its time, few will understand it, and it will stir up anxiety and be hopelessly misinterpreted. The changes you make must seem less innovative than they are.

--Robert Greene

Why is change so hard?

What can't be seen is hard to change. ... The dance-away lover seems doomed to an endless cycle of romances with stary-eyed beginnings and tearful endings. The abrasive manager somehow keeps rubbing up against recalcitrant employees. The compulsive workaholic just can't seems to get his wife to understand his pressing need to bring work home at nigh. Our defenses insulate us from the vital lie at the heart of our misery.

--Daniel Goleman

Why is change so hard?

When the ruling scheme of things comes to seem untrue or unimportant, one's efforts within it become meaningless. One's whole life becomes meaningless. The Heavenly City falls into ruins. The avenue to immortality ends on an abyss. One is cast back on his individual life, stares ahead through a transparence of days to death, which stands at the end.

--Allen Wheelis

Why is change so hard?

Who will I be when I change? What will be left? Will I still be lovable?

--unknown source

Why is change so hard?

1 year is minimum time to train a coach - a minimum time for a change.

--unknown source

Why is change so hard?

Neurotics complain of their illness, but they make the most of it, and when it comes to taking it away from them they will defend it like a lioness her young.

If children could, if adults knew.

--Sigmund Freud

Why is change so hard?

No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side.

Or you don't.

--Stephen King

Why is change so hard?

In fact, the having-type individuals feel rather disturbed by new thoughts or ideas about a subject, because the new puts into question the fixed sum of information they have. Indeed, to one for whom having is the main form of relatedness to the world, ideas that cannot easily be pinned down (or penned down) are frightening - like everything else that grows and changes, and thus is not controllable.

Neither expects to change his own opinion, or that his opponent's opinion will change. Each is afraid of changing his own opinion, precisely because it is one of his possessions, and hence its loss would mean an impoverishment.

Not to move forward, to stay where we are, to regress, in other words to rely on what we have, is very tempting, for what we have, we know; we can hold onto it, feel secure in it. We fear, and consequently avoid, taking a step into unknown, the uncertain; for, indeed, while the step may not appear risky to us after we have taken it, before we take that step the new aspects beyond it appear very risky, and hence frightening. Only the old, the tried, is safe; or so it seems. Every new step contains the danger of failure, and that is one of the reasons people are so afraid of freedom.

If I am what I have and what I have is lost, who am I? Nobody but a defeated, deflated, pathetic testimony to a wrong way of living.

--Erich Fromm