I recently watched the Darkest Hour and heard the best quote from Winston Churchill (or at least the actor playing Winston Churchill)…
…those who never change their minds never change anything….
In our personal life or at work there are usually things we want to change – maybe breaking a bad habit, loosing weight, changing team dynamics or behavior, or trying to change the world. And it all starts with making a change in your mind. This is a rewiring of the brain…neuroplasticity … and it comes about with new learning or a new experience or a new thought deliberately put there. Making change is about taking things off automatic….easier said than done but possible.
I’ve noticed that I enjoy learning or trying new things but changing something is often not so enjoyable. It makes sense to me now that learning something new is establishing patterns on a blank canvas whereas trying to change something involves undoing existing patterns and then establishing new ones.
I wrote a draft of this piece and then took a trip to the hardware store and spotted myself on automatic. I saw a car with a bumper sticker supporting someone I don’t like and I automatically went into my usual critical thought train. Inside the store I was looking for some batteries. I went to the aisle where I recalled them being last time – they weren’t there. I looked in the next aisle, and then the next aisle and then back to the original aisle – they still weren’t there. They had a completely new location and luckily for me that was near the checkout. I was operating on automatic until something changed in my environment.
Try watching yourself and those around you. How often do you operate on automatic – your thoughts, your actions, your responses etc. Then try changing something small…a thought or a behavior and see what happens. If you like to result keep practicing. You have to make the change in the brain pattern and that takes attention and focus and practice and repetition.
What do you want to change? What step can you take first?