“No, I don’t think so, not today. I wouldn’t say I like to make those phone calls because they always make me angry. I will make them tomorrow. I don’t want to feel like that today.”
“Oh, you schedule your feelings? That’s new. Ever thought of living your life instead of managing it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Most people schedule phone calls, not what they want to feel. I am just saying it doesn’t work. We have no idea what we are going to feel in the future. Feelings happen on their own, and you can’t stop them.” (EZM)
The Strengths of Contemplation, the Weakness of Advice
Here’s a statistic that might startle you.14 It’s about a behavior we commonly see as the most difficult one to change: addiction. It turns out that most people in the United States who quit habitual drinking do so without treatment. That’s right: Most people quit this highly addictive habit on their own. What’s more, people who quit drinking on their own stay sober longer than those who enter treatment. They take a serious, hard look at themselves and decide that not drinking is better for them than drinking. Their sobriety likely lasts longer than that of people who achieve sobriety in treatment because the self-propelled sober person holds firmly to their own internal compass throughout their recovery, instead of following someone else’s advice. In other words—it’s an inside job. (Pg.xvi)
To make a personal change in your life is to make a decision and to commit to that decision. The only way to make a committed decision that can lead to change is to do the hard, very human work of contemplating the pros and cons of your situation before you act. There’s no chicken-and-egg riddle between contemplation and advice. Contemplation always comes first when you succeed in making the change you want to make.
Advice and instruction speak to none of that. In fact, when you follow advice without fully and dispassionately considering whether you really want to change, you treat the choice to change as the only reasonable one to make, and sameness as an unreasonable option.
That view of change as a foregone conclusion—as the sole definition of success—typically doesn’t work.
Research shows us that deep and lasting change is typically the result of contemplation,11,12,13 the dispassionate weighing of the pros and cons of a situation. That doesn’t mean advice is totally useless. It’s just that you’re not going to take and use it in a way that actually helps until you’ve contemplated both sides of an argument in which sameness has been winning so far.
Pick a diet, any diet. Follow it and you’ll lose weight. Choose a gym routine. You’ll get more fit if you follow it. Follow advice on quitting a habit. Habit gone. How-to instructions are as easy as one, two, three. But following them isn’t. That’s because personal change only happens from within.(Pg.xv)
True self-help is just that: helping yourself. It’s an act of personal leadership and direction. (Loc.xxi)
E&P by EZorrilla.