Is it true that people have a natural resistance to change? Dig a little deeper and you might discover that resistance to change is just the symptom and that people have a natural resistance to feeling incompetent. Humiliation is a deep fear we all possess; we don’t want to feel or look incompetent and change has the potential to activate that feeling.
This won’t happen naturally. It has to be taught, and it has to be maintained on a regular basis. If not, we will slowly drift back into losing our curiosity, and with that, our vitality. Inquisitiveness atrophies over time. Our natural bent toward laziness is exacerbated by inactivity. Contentment is a great virtue, but its shadow side is apathy. It’s natural to grow accustomed to our surroundings, but as John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
Learn to value discomfort, disequilibrium and disorientation. That’s where our greatest growth takes place. It’s in the discomfort zone where we grow and learn. Here’s the truth: Discomfort doesn’t lead to breakdown. It leads to breakthrough. By avoiding discomfort, we can survive. Stepping into it is how we thrive.
How do you do this? Develop these six habitudes (habits + attitudes):
1. Question the status quo.
By doing this, you will be facilitating the skill of critical unlearning. What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to leave behind? What do we need to forget? What do we need to ignore? Answering questions like these is important if we want to grow and go forward.
2. Challenge your assumptions.
Just because that’s how we’ve always done it doesn’t mean that we should keep doing it the same way. This can lead to the bias of experience—that is, that the way we’ve done it is the objectively correct way to do it. Go below the surface and discover the belief that is driving that behavior. What is the belief behind the habit or process we were taught? Even if the belief is right, does it have a different application today? If it’s valid, our commitment will go even deeper. If it’s not, we might need to do some innovating.
3. Try something new.
This often leads to something better. Occasionally it comes through association with others. What seemed like an impediment to progress became a breakthrough in efficiency. Sometimes it’s as simple as trying an unfamiliar food. Experiment, test, expose. People tend to see danger where there is only difference.
4. Repurpose something old.
Sometimes the pearl gets lost in the process. The principle is good, but the delivery system is outdated. Don’t miss the reliable because it’s cluttered and camouflaged with irrelevance. This is more than recycling. It’s also about ideas, attitudes, emotional intelligence, money, simplicity and wisdom.
5. Connect with the bigger picture.
Synthesizing your life illuminates your path. Learning and growing is about capacity and skill—but it’s also about connecting the dots. That is hard to do without knowing the bigger purpose of who we are and what we want. This takes learning to a whole new level. You are no longer just a teacher. You are a master teacher.
6. Trust what you know.
Trusting what you know gives you the courage to try new things. Here’s what I know:
- The sun will come up tomorrow.
- What I am going through right now will pass.
- With one exception (you), the world is composed of other people.
- Be kind. Everyone I know is carrying something.
- The best things in life aren’t things.
- People make mistakes.
- You get out of life what you put into it.
- Gratitude is the healthiest emotion and trumps gratification.
- What you focus on becomes your reality, whether it’s true or not.
- The quality of your life is dependent on the quality of your emotions.
- Bitterness is a downward spiral.
- I must forgive in order to live.
- The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
Developing ourselves includes developing our minds. This does not happen without discomfort and occasional disorientation.
This post originally appeared on LeadershipTraQ.com.
This article was published in February 2017 and has been updated. Photo by
Mick Ukleja, Ph.D., is the founder and president of LeadershipTraQ. He empowers leaders to optimize their talent and equips them to excel in their professional and personal life. Mick is an author, speaker and generational strategist. He writes and speaks on engaging millennials at work. He is the co-author of Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce, 2nd Edition, which is used in corporate training and business schools. He co-founded the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership at California State University, Long Beach, which promotes ethics across the curriculum. Mick is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Concordia University. His book Who Are You? What Do You Want? has been praised by legendary coach John Wooden: “I have always taught that success can be achieved by each one of us. These principles provide an excellent life-planning guide for bringing out your best.” Mick has been featured on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business Network, NBC and in numerous publications. Keep up with Mick at Leadershiptraq.com.