How many of us have had to experience a life lesson several times before we sit up and actually do something about it?
There are two ways that human beings are motivated to change; through inspiration or desperation.
Firstly, let’s consider inspiration. We can go on holiday and get inspiration for the book we are going to write, the new business we are going to start, the way we are going to change our behaviour. An exciting weekend seminar might inspire us to transform, and we may have a list of New Year’s resolutions that declare I Am A Changed Person.
And yet, this is the second week of January and over 90% of people have already given up on at least 90% of their resolutions(1). Have you? Be honest!
Now we’ll look at desperation. There are occasions when things get so bad that change becomes essential.
Earlier this week a colleague compared me to the Egyptian Pharaoh because he’d tried to get a particular message through to me 10 times but I wasn’t hearing it clearly. Fortunately he didn’t bring about any plagues upon my house, and his metaphor alone was strong enough to wake me up and bring about a transformation.
When Moses brought the ten plagues to Egypt, there are various instances that Pharaoh ‘hardened his heart’ (e.g. Exodus 8:11). The commentators explain that Pharaoh had to become tougher so that he was still able to make a free choice as to whether he should release the Hebrew slaves(2). There is a strong lesson in this.
This Pharoah-like approach is really what happens to us on a regular basis as we become more resistant to the trials of everyday life. We may know that we have got to transform something, we may be in pain because of the status quo, we may be totally sure that our life will be improved if we take drastic action…but we don’t do anything about it!
Today, identify the change you seek and become it.
HOW TO USE THIS IN THE BOARDROOM: What is an area of your business where you need to make changes that you have been avoiding? What is the first action step to bring about change?
HOW TO USE THIS IN YOGA & MEDITATION: What is a life lesson that you’ve had to learn the hard way? When did you change one aspect of your life through inspiration? When did you change one aspect of your life through desperation? Which change are you avoiding at the moment?
(1) Ok, I completely made up that figure, but please get in touch if you’ve got any evidence to the contrary, hearsay or otherwise.
(2) Commentaries of Rashi & Ramban.