Are you ‘Escaping From’ or ‘Changing To’?

 

There are two types of change: Escape From and Change to.

Escape from. These are the things you want to escape from. In the image below, they’re the circles on the left. They’re what you want to escape from. They’re entirely negative.

Change to. There are the things you want to achieve, the person you want to become. They’re always positive. But some are just aspirations.

Whether you succeed depends on your motivation. All of us have aspirations and dreams. But too many of us never achieve them. Sometimes it’s lack of money.

But mostly, in my experience, it’s a lack of need. We’re content to put up with our lot in life. Sometimes, ‘Escape from’ isn’t a complete motivation. The No.1 reason why people fail to achieve Agency is because they don’t have a truly gnawing need. It means they can put up with low levels of irritation or discomfort.

It helps to have a pull from the other direction – a feeling you need to ‘Change to’ something. And that draw has to be really strong. It has to be an all-consuming urge. If it isn’t, you won’t be able to escape the gravitational pull of lethargy. If your main focus is to ‘escape from’, you’ll need a very clear understanding of what the benefits will be. That’s the ‘Change to’ pull.

How much pain will you put up with?

The motivational speaker Tony Robbins said that people are willing to put up with an extraordinary amount of pain, rather than make a change. It’s like someone persistently beating you over the head with a mallet, until you eventually decide that something must be done. The question is, how much pain are you willing to accept? Either the pain has to get too great, or your need has to grow.

Into your Discomfort Zone

As the image below shows, most of us live in a state of inertia – the Comfort Zone. We accept the way life is. But there’s a level of pain that puts us into the Discomfort Zone.

If the discomfort is big enough, it will start to pull us towards making a change. That in turn will pull you through change and eventually into a new and better comfort zone.

 

 

The Escape/Change tool

Take the following two-part quiz. The first one assesses your contentedness. The second evaluates your need.

You can download an editable version here: Escape From to Escape to Table .

 

How content are you with your present life?

 

 

Mark the appropriate box below

What your choice means

Very discontented

 

You should definitely change

Quite discontented

 

You have a slight reason to change.

Neither discontented or contented

 

You have no reason to change.

Quite content

 

 

Very content

 

 

 

Now try the Need tool:

 

How desperate are you to make a change?

 

Mark the appropriate box below

What your choice means

Very desperate

 

You should definitely change

Somewhat desperate

 

You have some reason to change.

I’m not sure

 

 

You have no reason to change.

Not very desperate

 

 

Not at all desperate

 

 

 

 

What does this tell you?

If you answered ‘Very discontented’ and Very Desperate’ you owe it to yourself to make a change.

If you said ‘Quite discontented’ or ‘Somewhat desperate’, you don’t have to press the nuclear button. Find a compromise that gives you a better life.

And anything less than that means your life is as good as it gets, which is lovely.

 

Want to know more?

These ideas are taken from my forthcoming book, Get Up and Go.

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