Why do we fight tooth and nail against change? Everyone has their reasons. It’s easier to say “No,” and remain within the comfortable confines of familiar habits than to take a chance on the unknown. Routines and our customary practices make us believe we are in control. Familiarity lulls us into thinking we possess the skills needed to complete our daily tasks.
Perhaps the one reason everyone can agree with, but nobody wants to admit, is that change requires work. In the beginning, change can be exciting, and our motivation is at its highest. Who doesn’t want to lose weight, improve their life, learn to play the piano, spend more time with family, or earn more money? I do. Where do I sign up? My intentions are noble, and I buy workout clothes, toss junk food in the garbage, and vow to exercise on my brand-new stationary bike at 5 am every morning. It’s a promising start, but several weeks later, the machine has become a shrine of cute outfits, and a layer of dust covers everything. What happened?
I recently ran across another thought-provoking explanation, called “Kanter’s Law.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School, says, “in the middle, everything looks like a failure.” The middle of the exercise plan is sweaty, grueling work. Maybe you stuck with your 5 am schedule for a week. Every evening, as your reward for your accomplishment, you celebrated with a cookie and wondered why after the first week, the number on the scale was not smaller. The standard for the middle stage is two steps forward and one step backward.
Happy endings don’t lie at the end of a straight line. Hazards riddle the road, and failures to advance are guaranteed. Failure is a part of the change process and a natural stepping stone towards success. Determining what works involves risks. We must discover what doesn’t work, making adjustments, and continuing to take one more step forward.
What will you fail at today?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer