Updates from new blog at www.nextchapternewlife.com/blog/

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Personal Change: Does Logic Play a role?

It is important to look at the role logic plays in making personal change. If you look around you for a moment, you see TV, signs, articles and people flinging logic around with the clear intent of making someone change something. You can see it in anti-smoking campaigns. Those guys are spending the millions they were forced to spend on anti-smoking when they lost the various class action lawsuits. They wouldn't be spending millions if it didn't work, right? Not really. Smoking rates are going up, not down.

If logic worked to make us make change, we would all be non-smoking, slim and fit darlings already. Yet, I find it fascinating how many of us think that if we can just get this serious nugget of logic in front of the unknowing or uneducated that miraculously, they will see the beauty of that pure logic and change. You can also see this working with people that have the most to lose: death threats from heart disease. I recently read that close to 70% of people with serious heart disease ignore the lifestyle counseling from their own doctors. They know they have to eat right, exercise, lose weight and shape up or die, but that huge group ignore the counseling. They keep doing all the things that got them knocking on death's door and you would think that would be enough to inspire anyone to straighten up. Logic, while beautiful, is not enough to make most of us change anything.

Why do we keep shoveling out logic like a cure for the common cold? There are numerous things that go into that mix. Key among them is: we lack the skills to infuse motivation to change in others or ourselves. Making a change, whether it is flossing your teeth or changing jobs, has its challenges. Notice I said challenges. Making change is not impossible but it is a process that follows known characteristics and if you don't understand the process, you're left to "logic it out". For some reason, there is little education done on this subject and change happens our entire life. I liken it to ignoring the obvious. For the most part, we are left on our own to muddle through making changes, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Understand that logic does have its place with making a change. It is not the thing that will emotionally move you forward or cause you to take action. Logic's role is in the process of change, the thing that helps you plan, sort out issues and clear your mind. Logic, when left on its own won't motivate you.

Where does this revelation leave us? First, stop trying to use logic to convince others to change. We aren't prone to taking advice to begin with and logic really doesn't do the trick. Besides, if you're trying to change someone else, you're probably irritating. Second, there is information in the form of books, workshops and classes on making and mastering change and then of course, there is the occasional expert on change (ahem, cough) you can work with.