Desire alone is not enough to be a catalyst for change; however with out it, we won’t change. I’ve heard it said, “until the pain of remaining the same is GREATER than the pain of remaining the same, we will not change.” Desire is what focuses that pain of remaining the same, and fuels our change effort!
Desire fuels our heart. Desire reveals to us what we actually want. Desire is what moves us towards action! Desire though, has various levels. The worst part is that there is no gauge to tell us how much internal desire we have or have left. What’s worse is that “some desire” is not enough to actually cause us to move. When we have a 1/4 tank of fuel left our car will still move and go where we direct it; when we have a 1/4 tank of desire it’s not enough to actually cause us to move. **side note: don’t get caught up on an actual percentage, the “1/4” was just an arbitrary number to signify that having some desire is not enough to actually make us move – every individual requires their own amount of desire/motivation, the key is to figure out how much we need to actually make us move**
The questions we must ask our selves:
“Why do I desire change?”
“What benefits will come as a result of change?”
“Where does the motivation for change come from?”
I love Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” and his book, Start With Why! In both of these Sinek insist that we START WITH WHY! The WHY matters the most because it clarifies what we feel and what we believe. The “why” gives us a reason to change, it gives us something to believe in, it gives us a cause to buy-into! And if the why is big enough and important enough it will exponentially increase the actuality of change!
The “why” lends itself to the intrinsic motivations from personal benefit! In others, I’m going to care more about the “why” of any particular change, if I can clearly understand how it will benefit me! And while this may seem selfish and self-serving, it’s how our brains work, and there is nothing wrong with this! When we desire change, because the pain of remaining the same is uncomfortable, we need to grab onto and cling to the benefits. The pain of our current circumstances are not enough propel us to the consistency that is required for change, but rather it the benefits of the change coupled with the pain of remaining the same that carry us through the difficulty of the change process! In other words, when we combine the pain of how we currently feel with the hope of how we want to feel, we are more likely to push through the friction caused by change!
So then, where does it all come from? How do we maximize the pain and the hope? This is where I may lose some of you. The pain of remaining the same does not come from an intrinsic source but rather from extrinsic factors! When I climb up a flight of stairs and I’m winded, I feel the need for a change in my health. When I look in the mirror and I don’t like the shape that I see, I desire change. When I can’t fit into a pair of pants that used to be loose on me, the need for change becomes more evident. All of these are external factors that cause me to feel something internally. The reason I believe that it takes a large sum of these external factors to affect the way we feel internally is because we dismiss them individually. We excuse them, we believe they are not as “bad” as they really are! We struggle with this tension between “self-acceptance” and “need to change”. I believe that self-awareness and accepting your strengths and weakness for what they are is crucial, but I also believe that we use self-acceptance as an excuse for not working through the pain of change!
If we going to increase and maximize on our desire for change, we must not dismiss or marginalize the external factors that encourage us to change. We must admit that getting winded going up a flight of stairs is not OK and really is a bad thing. We must admit that what ever negative feeling we are experiencing really is as bad as we think it is! Then, we must envision what life would be like if we changed, magnifying that hope. Here is the sum total: Accept that the bad really is that bad and that the hope really is that great! That’s where real, meaningful desire comes from!
Questions to ask yourself about desire:
- Do I marginalize the factors that cause me pain/discomfort? – If so, STOP!
- Am I willing to feel the pain daily? – Desire/Motivation is needed daily in the change process until it becomes internal, and that means feeling the pain daily!
- Do I have a clear picture of my hope for the future? – If not, write it out! The more clear the picture, the easier it is to hold onto in the times of difficulty!