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3 Reasons People Resist Change and How to Fix it

3 Reasons People Resist Change and How to Fix it

Change is something that’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. As a business owner, if you wait for change to happen, your competition is going to eat your dust. Getting stuck in the same old tired ideas that aren’t working anymore is a formula for failure.


As a keynote speaker and consultant, I’m hired by corporations to encourage their employees to change and think differently. I stand on a stage and cheerlead for them to try something new and break out of their old patterns of thinking.


But the truth is that we all resist change, including myself. Patterns become so engrained in our brains that, unless we constantly create new pathways, new connections, new experiences, and new ideas, those neural patterns are doomed to stay stuck in neutral.


Are there people who spend their whole life stuck in neutral? Sure. But they will never be innovators. Companies, individuals, countries, communities, and organizations that stay stuck in neutral risk developing brains (and companies) that are deeply embedded in sameness. By using the same neural pathways over and over again, it gets harder and harder to get out of that rut. Kind of like a car that gets stuck in the mud. If you keep your foot on the gas, all you do is dig yourself deeper into that rut. Neural patterns in the brain work the same way.


Change is Hard Work


So, one reason people resist change is because change is hard work. If you want to grow new neurons and build more connections, you’ll have to work those areas of the brain that are weak. Just like a weak muscle, weak neurons require a lot of work. And not everyone wants to work that hard.


This is why I disguise my creativity and innovation “work” as play. When we are playing we get lost in the moment and we’re much more likely to suspend criticism and simply have fun. It becomes easier to try something new and experimental.


Fear of Being Different


Another reason people resist change is because they fear being different from everyone else. The worst thing I hear from organizations is “that’s the way it’s always been done”. As an outsider I can instantly see when something doesn’t make good common sense. As an outsider I can question those things without fear of retribution. But for those in the organization who have to live with those bad choices every day, sometimes it’s safer just to go along and not rock the boat. It takes courage to buck the trend and stand up for change.


Not in Their Best Interest


The third reason people resist change is because it doesn’t work in their best interest. If someone is in a good, cushy, high paying job, radical change may not be in their own best interest. Why upset the apple cart and risk losing that sweet gravy train? Again, as a consultant on the outside looking in, it’s baffling the amount of money that’s being wasted on stupid, stuck in the mud decisions.


I have a friend who takes over failing companies and turns them around to make them profitable. One of the first things he does is eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse in the company’s budget. He eliminates duplication, like having two vice presidents, both with big salaries. Neither of those people would ever complain or instigate change because it’s not in their best interest.


Management can help their employees adjust to change by letting them know what’s going on and being honest about how the change is going to impact them. Also, involving them in the change will help ease them into it and give them permission to speak their minds about it without fear of punishment. Change is not only inevitable, it’s vital for growth.


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Trust Your Intuition

Trust Your Intuition

According to Einstein, “The only real valuable thing is intuition”. It’s especially true for entrepreneurs. Sometimes you just have to trust your intuition. You have to listen to it, even if you’re not really sure where it’s going to take you. As an entrepreneur, your brain can process information that you don’t even realize is valuable yet.


If you already have most of the information in your brain and it’s churning around in the background, you can probably make a good decision based solely on that.


If you don’t know anything about a particular business, you might not want to rely just on your intuition and put everything you have into it. You can test your intuition to see how often you are right. Pick some stocks, but don’t buy them. Pick them solely based on your intuition and see how often you are right. Get used to using your intuition on a daily basis and it will get stronger.


The more you use your intuition, the better you will get at it and the more opportunities you will spot. Entrepreneurs are immersed in it every day.


Entrepreneurs who use their intuition are able to think several steps ahead to figure out trends in their industry. Like a professional chess player, they are able to see the big picture and figure out what moves they need to take to get them where they want to be.


To be a successful entrepreneur you need to be a good listener. Listen to your customers, listen to the news (from all sources), listen to your neighbors, your friends, your family, your employees, etc. Take information from all sources and draw your own conclusions. Practice using your intuition to spot future trends. See the patterns that emerge before anyone else and stay ahead of the curve.


You don’t have to have a crystal ball to know that change is constant and will happen no matter what. People who are intuitive are more likely to be able to deal with change when it happens. Intuitive people expect change and are better able to cope with it. They know that change is inevitable and they prepare for it.


As an entrepreneur you need to strengthen and trust your intuition. Learn to listen to it. Gather your knowledge, listen closely, and use your gut feelings. You will probably be right.

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