I was reading a book this morning that talked about the human aversion to change. It said that even if you are in a highly uncomfortable and/or unpleasant place in your life, you may very well resist making it better. Humans are drawn to the familiar – even if the familiar is painful and bad.
People come to coaching to change. It takes a great deal of courage to start coaching for this reason.
I know this. And yet every new thing I accomplish, I will sit down and say, “whew; well, now I am here. I don’t have to change any more. Finally. I have made it.” Such a natural desire – to arrive. And then stop. To live happily ever after. The problem here is this: it is not very satisfying.
Another reason people come to coaching is a sense of dissatisfaction with where they are. Either they know they don’t like their current circumstances or they feel a lack of fulfillment and they don’t know why. In both instances, there is a sense of stuckness. And the stuckness is really an unconscious commitment to staying where they are. Even though they don’t like it. And so, again, very brave to come to coaching and admit this.
Today, then, I wanted to put this before you: Tony Robbins has coined the term CANI, which means constant and never-ending improvement. I thought about this the other day when my mother, 80-years-old next year and a proponent of body health and alignment for people as they age (also one of the healthiest people I know, hiking in Sequoia as I write this), told me that people can continue improving throughout their lives. Not being static; not maintaining; but improving.
And I got to thinking. This seems to be what most people want (whether they know it or not). My mentor coach used to say, “people have two speeds – forward and backward; there is no idle.”
It’s a paradigm shift that will vastly improve the quality of your life, your work and your relationships – realizing that what will truly satisfy you in your life is constant growth, stretching, improving – even in very small ways.
And so let me close with a very simple example. I taught a workshop on communication earlier this week. I was teaching the concept of curiosity as a listening tool. I.e., if you adopt a mindset of curiosity (rather than judgment, assessment or focus on one’s one self and one’s own agenda), you will become a better listener.
After practicing this technique, one of the participants raised his hand and he said, “That conversation became a lot more interesting to me when I became really curious.” And I said, “You know, I think that is a life philosophy.”
So try it – be curious. Take on something new. Drive to work a different way. Learn a language. Stand when you would normally sit. Help in a soup kitchen. Whatever it is. Wake yourself up. See what happens.
And by the way, my amazing and inspiring mother writes a blog on alignment techniques for people as they age, which are amazing for people of any age. If you are interested, here is a link: https://dynamicaging4life.com/
P.S. That’s my mom in that picture!