Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes?
I love catchy phrases. Digital memes, Pinterest boards and even traditional roadside marquees are great sources for some of our society’s greatest insights and provoking thoughts. One that has caught my attention recently is “Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.”
It is simple and a nice little reminder that if we continue to do things the same way all the time, we should not expect a different outcome.
Our bad habits will not be broken by wishful thinking. Instead, it takes a genuine commitment to a new way of operating to make any significant and long-term difference in our life or business.
It is a solid concept. But it is a faulty concept.
To many people, things are perfectly OK the way they are as demonstrated by their lack of doing anything about them. A few pounds overweight? I can live with that. Not impressing the boss? She is impossible to please. Finances an issue? Aren’t they for everyone?
The real problem with the “nothing changes if nothing changes” mantra is that many times, things do change if you don’t do anything. If you keep eating three doughnuts for breakfast every day, you won’t stay the same. You will get fatter. If you keep underachieving at work, you won’t just get more eye rolls from the boss. You will get fired. And if you keep charging items you can’t afford on your credit card (regardless of the awesome cash back you may receive), the bank won’t just keep raising your credit limits. You will find yourself in bankruptcy.
I understand the intended meaning of the phrase, but I often struggle to motivate myself to make major changes when the status quo is “OK.” If I can keep chugging along without raising red flags or causing immediate problems, I am tempted to keep the status quo.
For example, in my business it is easier for me to stay busy with client work than to carve out time to network more or meet with potential new clients – even when I know that is the only way to truly grow. Not changing may not change anything today, but it may tomorrow. Keeping the same, safe routine will keep my clients happy and the bills paid today, but a lack of action certainly does not guarantee that everything will remain the same.
Your bad habit won’t break; your bad habit will break you.
If it were true that not changing would ensure that everything stayed the same, what any easy world this would be to navigate. The truth is that everything is always changing, so if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward.
It is a little early for New Year’s resolutions, but I am working to make necessary changes at both home and work, because I do know this much to be true – things won’t change unless something changes. And I am ready for change. How about you?