“You know, Richard, most people think the will to survive is the strongest instinct in human beings, but it isn’t. The strongest instinct is to keep things familiar”
The great family therapist Virginia Satir, once said that to the co-creator of NLP, Richard Bandler, as he says in his fantastic book, Make Your Life Great. It stuck in his mind for a long time. He has also found it to be true over the many years he has studied human behavior.
And after devoting years and years to studying people myself, I agree completely with both of these experts-who probably know more than I do.
The mind resists change-passionately-and with a determination that should never be under-estimated-if you want to grow or change your current results. The mind likes things to be kept familiar-remember that because it will do all sorts of sneaky tricks to keep you where you are now.
Even quantum leaps forward in personal growth-and the mind will resist-doing all in its power to return you to your former state or previous results. I will even go as far as to say that sometimes, your unconscious mind will play along with your new changes for a while. Cunningly leading you into a false sense of security that all is well and it likes and accepts your new results. All the while though it was just silently watching, and waiting, for the moment to strike. You may know this or even experienced it yourself.
You press that red button and ruin the new relationship that is going really well. Or you walk out of your job that is paying you more than you have ever earned. Its called self-sabotage.
I truly believe this is the reason why a huge proportion of major lottery winners are broke and some even bankrupt within 3 to 5 years of their major wins. Their mind is not ready for the big changes in lifestyle. On an unconscious level it is resisting and then will use ninja tactics to return them to their past financial status through being a spendthrift and making unwise or poor investments. The mind wins.
The same can be said for those unfortunate enough to be in an abusive relationship. They stay in it thinking, better the devil you know…
I remember a time when I was about to experience some personal growth. I was asked to do our group sales presentations. I was good at what I did and I had solid confidence in my abilities. I was not fearful of speaking in front of crowds. Yet, within a few hours of being told that I would be presenting that weekend, I got the flu. All real symptoms. I felt so bad that come saturday I nearly didn’t go into work.
Yet when I reached the office and knew that I had to perform, the shaking legs, shivers and chronic aching back miraculously disappeared. You see, I knew that this opportunity would ultimately lead to my growth. Better money and a promotion. The illness I suddenly came down with was my unconscious minds attempt to keep me where I was. It knew where this opportunity would lead me. I even believe that it knew how to try and prevent me from growing-by making me physically sick. My conscious mind was too strong for it to try mental tactics.
So change, even when that change is for the better can make you feel uneasy, disorientated and in some cases, strike you with an illness. But if you persist with your new ways the mind will come to accept your changes; and in those cases where ailments have struck, health suddenly improves.
This is why the first chapter in my book, ‘Ignite the Spark, Explode Your Results’ is all about embracing change. It prepares the mind to readily accept all the changes you desire-on a permanent basis.
If you under-estimate the power of your mind to resist change, even if it is for the better, then think about this: A lot of people all say they want to change for the better, but how many actually make the successful transition? Most only change when they become sick and tired of being sick tired about their results in life.
When that happens, change will be pursued and become long lasting.