Hello everybody. I’m Steven Nathenson, CEO and founder of Strive For More. And I’m curious, how long do you think it takes for us as human beings to change? Perhaps even more fundamentally, do you think we’re capable of change as human beings? Do you think we always stay the same and people are incapable of change? Or do you think we are capable of growing and changing? We’ve talked about growth oriented mindsets before and fixed mindsets, kind of the two opposing opposite mindsets. One, I can continue to grow and change and develop new skills. Or that’s the way it is. It’s not changing and it never will. Which mindset do you prescribe to?
And I’ll give you a hint. We are capable of change. It’s not necessarily a matter of if we are capable. It’s really more of a matter of do we want to, and will we. There is a difference there. I can change. There is a process to do that. We’re going to talk about that here in a minute. But it just may more fundamentally be do I want to change? Am I willing to undergo that journey? Go through that process and come out on the other side changed and different for the better.
So how do we do that? Change is a process. It takes time. We are not on demand. We’re not Amazon one day, two day delivery. We don’t change like that as human beings. It takes time. And that’s what we’re here to really talk about today is the fact that change takes time. And why it takes time is because when we’re talking about really creating, say new habits, long lasting success, deeply seated changes, we’re literally rewiring our brains.
There’s neural pathways in our brains, and those are essentially a pathway of neurons in our brains that light up like a little lightning rod when I say, I want to go kick a ball, I want to drive, I want to brush my teeth. The lightening rod in our brain is going to light up associating, centrally that thought with those actions that drive our motor functions to do it. So if we’re talking about say, communicating a new way, thinking a new way, building a habit, maybe relearning how to drive as an example, we literally have to rewire our brains. And that takes time to do. And it really is dependent on how deeply seated something is within us.
So if I’ve been doing something for say 30 years, a very specific way, that’s a very strong neural pathway in my brain. And if I need to change this, I’ve got to build a new one. So first I have to say, well, what is that new way of doing it? I have to know what that looks like first. Then I have to start enacting it one small step at a time to do this more often as it builds and then do the other one less and less until they essentially flip-flop. And you’ve now changed the way that you are. You’ve created this new neural pathway as being the way you are. And this other one, which you’ve used less and less have become weaker over time, has become, excuse me. And is now not the way that we are the mass majority of the time.
And so for those who are listening to this versus watching this, visualization I just went through essentially, is if you take your right hand and you hold it up to essentially the top of your head, that could be your 30 year neural pathway of doing something a specific way. If you take your left hand and let’s say you place that kind of down near your chin, that’s the new one. And so if you slowly, flip-flop your hands, move your left hand up while you’re moving your right hand down, you’re going to see that illustration of how we can change over time, but it takes time to figure out what is this new neural pathway actually look like? What are the steps in this process for me to build, say, this new behavior. Actually do it one small step at a time. So it starts getting stronger and stronger as a neural pathway and doing the right hand less so that gets weaker and weaker as a neural pathway. And it takes time for that literally to flip-flop.
So that’s the big key today. We don’t change overnight as human beings. It takes time. And time is a hugely important thing when we talk about GRIT, give, recognized, implement, time, because it is one of the hardest things for us to do as human beings is to accept that change takes time. We want it now. It’s got to happen now. I want this to be different. It needs to be different. There’s a comedian Ronny Chieng, who is I think, pretty funny. And he does a great skit on Amazon Prime. So I’m going to take a little of his stuff and share it with you here today. Please look at his Netflix special. It’s right up near the front if you want to watch it. It is really hysterical. But the point of what he talks about is essentially Amazon Prime and the convenience that it creates for us. And he starts going well, two day delivery, man, that’s too much. What about same day? Well, that’s even taking too long. I want the item after I press send and purchase to be placed in my hand and now, right?
So he essentially makes a joke about Amazon breaking into people’s houses to literally place the item in their hand right after they hit send, because we want it now. We want the convenience of it. And then he gets into prime before. I want you to predict what I’m going to buy before I even know that I want it so that I have it before then. And it’s a wonderful illustration. It really is hysterical. So I would highly recommend listening to it. But it’s a great point to what we’re talking about today, is change truly does take time. And if we embrace and we accept that concept, then it’s much easier for us to actually go on that journey because we’re not putting a bunch of pressure on ourselves.
We’re not feeling down because it doesn’t happen right away. We’re essentially overcoming what Ronny was talking about is I want everything absolutely right now immediately. And it needs to happen now. And one of the biggest things if something doesn’t happen right away, we can forego it. Oh, this is never going to work. It’s never going to happen. I can’t possibly change. We essentially make this gross generalization that it’s never going to happen for us because it didn’t happen this one time or it didn’t change right now. I couldn’t say, overcome this negative thought that I had of say, being confident. I’m never going to be confident. We tend to make those over gross generalizations versus allowing the change to take time.
So one of the tricks that I do actually, with my clients as we go through the conversations we have, they take actions in between the sessions that we have, they are changing. But with us as human beings, it’s not necessarily noticeable because it’s not like I’m going to the gym, say lifting five pounds this week, 10 pounds next week, 15 pounds the next week after that. It’s typically less tangible of changes. But the trick that I use is say after three months, we actually have a conversation, we actively reflect of where were we? And where are we now? It’s much easier to see the changes and the differences, or even at six months, much greater.
And so let’s talk about change for a second, and how to create that true lasting change. And the time it actually takes to do that. Now I did mention like three months there and six months. Now three months, it’s a good time frame to kind of start seeing shifts in change. But when we’re talking about true long lasting change, depending on how deeply seated things are in us, typically it’s about six months to really see that magic happen.
And for us to really be in that new way that we want to be, whether it’s communicating, thinking different way, behaving a different way, really six months of actively working on it for it to truly take hold to be the new way of being. There’s a lot of great research and studies on that, that come from essentially smoking cessation, the stages of change model, or also the trans theoretical model behavior change, excuse me, the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change by James Prochaska. They essentially studied smoking cessation, quitting smoking in the 70s and addicted behavior to really see how do we progress as human beings? How do we change? And then how long does it really take for us to say, overcome that really deeply seated addictive behavior to make that change in our lives, to no longer smoke.
We may not always have something that is truly that deeply seated and have much of a whole on us. So it may not take six months. It’s just kind of that general rule of thumb. It really just depends on how truly deep seated is this beginning neural pathway in me or this need and craving in my body. And that’s going to dictate how long it’s going to take. But the key there is it does take time. It is a process. And the real simple version of that process is I first have to start with understanding that there’s a change I want to make. I have to know what that change is. I have to be aware of where I am now, and where I want to go, and what those differences are. So I can start taking small steps at a time. We’ve talked about implement on this podcast, a part of GRIT, give, recognize, implement, time. Those small steps over time, literally lead us to where we want to go.
I will also say one of the things that I find with time and with GRIT is it is one of the let’s call it, lowest rated areas when people take my GRIT, give, recognize, implement time self-assessment. I measure 21 key human characteristics that are associated truly with what makes us successful. That’s 21 characteristics associated with give, recognize, implement, and time, total. And when you look at the three in time, they’re often some of the most lowest rated because it’s some of the most difficult things for us to do, like accepting that change takes time.
So if there is one thing that you walk away with from today is that it’s okay. It’s okay to be who I am and allow change to happen as it needs to happen, which is over time. And it’s possible. It is possible for every single one of us to change. That’s the beauty of it. If you want to make a change in your life, you are absolutely capable of doing it. It just takes a little bit of time and that’s okay. So I’ll leave you with a question. What do you want to change in your life? Or asked a different way, what do you want to create in your life? So until the next time, be the movement in your life.
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