People want more – Find the switch to drive personal change

Observation tells me that 80% of people want more from their career, life or business. However the two biggest challenges are:

  1. Defining what more looks like
  2. The will to change behaviour to achieve more

Here lies the heart of debate – most people are resistant to doing things differently with many not willing to take the necessary steps to initiate the changes – the reality is, only action delivers change. A study of 11,000 of patients in the US who had undergone major heart-by pass surgery revealed that only 11% changed their lifestyle habits to accommodate a new way of living – that means 89% carried on with business as usual even though their life was at risk.

For me Darwinian thinking applies in these instances – its about the survival of the fittest, in other words those willing to change usually enjoy long term success. Big changes do not usually happen overnight, it comes in small steps – a bit like a dimmer switch – slight turns make the light shine brighter. Embracing a mindset that welcomes small changes can have an almost profound impact on personal progression.

Lets draw some insights from Nudge Theory, an area that I don’t claim to have any deep understanding but one where its impact I know has had a profound impact on behaviour. The best example of this was seen in Schipol Airport. Toilet cleaning costs were spiraling out of total control. The problems were attributed to the mess made in the gent’s toilets, usually men rushing to catch their flight obviously late but needing to relieve themselves before departure. Unfortunately their haste led to making a mess on the floor, wall and just everywhere including their shoes. This created a massive demand for additional cleaning – costs started to rise at an unbelievable rate. By applying Nudge Theory to this situation the sanitary ware manufacturers etched what looked like a fly on the urinal – guess what 80% immediate reduction in the cleaning bill – think about it. Something so small with such a profound effect – how can you nudge yourself to getting the change that you want? What small nudges can you make to?

  • Think differently
  • Act differently
  • Deliver you the change you want

So the starting point for any one on a mission, ambitious project or wanting to achieve a big goal is – pull the trigger of personal change, recognise that if you don’t you will at best stand still or at worst go into reverse.

Personal change is likened to the turning of an oil tanker, it takes time, and very few of us are blessed with the ability to change at the pace of a gazelle. However, if we recognise that change is constantly needed we are more likely to take action to get what we want.





3 Responses to People want more – Find the switch to drive personal change

  1. Peter says:

    I agree with most of this post John, except for your observation that 80% of people want more from life.

    After the year I’ve been through I want things to be the same as the were before December 2009. I think most people are the same. The reason that 89% of heart patients continue their unhealthy lifestyle is that the can’t adapt to the change that is necessary – they want things to be the same as pre-heart-attack and behave accordingly.

    I remember all the recessions and closures going back to the early 1980s. Many of the miners and other manufacturing workers who found their plants closed at that time NEVER got back into work at the same wages again, some never worked again before they retired.

    It’s not that change isn’t necessary; it is inevitable and I agree with your Darwinian references. The fittest will adapt whatever happens. With support they in turn can help ensure the weaker accept change in a positive way.

    In business terms this means supporting the fittest companies, because these are the ones that will provide the private sector jobs to compensate for the cuts elsewhere.

    • johnleachwp says:

      Thanks Peter – 80% want more, I should of added to that – more or something different- to where they are. Wanting what we had in the past is often not possible – so thats about moving on. We can only move on when we have change our way of thinking. The point you make about miners agreed, so sad but this is my very point – a tiny fraction embraced a new mindset (they changed) and created a new life. Some went on to create very successful businesses, others just could not embrace change and adapt.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Frank McKenna, John Leach. John Leach said: People want more – Find the switch to drive personal change […]

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