Why is it so hard to change?

Necessity is the mother of creation.

It is not known today that necessity is the mother of power and constructive capacity. The distance between having and wanting is so great, and what makes it so great is precisely the absence of need that does not always accompany wanting. In fact, all this talk about reinventing yourself (as I hate this term), persisting, mentalizing … the whole basis of these Coaching discourses comes from one point: making the brain understand what is often superfluous as pressing need.

In no mammal does the force majeure, the heroic act, or the great overcoming come in moments of calm. When we look at the life of mammals, we see that their greatest strength, their greatest outburst is always conflated in times of need. In good times, they sleep and stretch in the sun. The human being is no different.

Leia aqui em português.

We humans call the moment vacation bonanza. We hunted for about 1 year (need), then spent some time sleeping until 9 am, preferably on some beach with an all-inclusive hotel: bonança.

But when everything is calm, geared to routine, salary on time, organized work, when everyday life, even when not on vacation, is satisfactory, the brain recognizes the bonanza. But within us humans, even in bonanza, there is a need to go further. We charge ourselves to have better weight, a better body, to meditate, to pray, to eat more at home, to go for a walk, to graduate, to try a new job. Fuck whatever we want, we charge and we want more.

When all is well, the constant need for personal development creates a sense of something missing, of incompleteness. Thoughts arise that assess more things that need to be done. For some people this activates the set of behaviors that will make them competitive, thus starting a fight, loyal or unfair for new positions. For others, the focus becomes internal personal progress (for most of us, in fact), losing weight, being a better person, studying more, having a healthier routine.

Only, based on the comfortable reality (comfortable and tasty, by the way, are different things) that is being experienced, the change becomes difficult, slow, stubborn. Graduation gets boring, CBT is delayed, readings delayed, the gym becomes a burden/collapse, the diet a constant failure. That is, reinventing yourself without a real and pressing need is very difficult.
If we are going out of a coaching language and we are speaking in a language of psychology, we would say that without suffering that motivates, change is very difficult.

Thus, teaching the body, the brain that there is a pressing need is a good tool for change. We do this constantly in fitness and sports training. We glimpse the suffering of defeat, we glimpse the joy of victory and pondering this equation we find the pressing need for change: more training.

When we want to motivate a patient to try to stop drinking or using drugs, we also do so. We even call it the “weighting phase”, one of the pre-change phases. We conducted the patient in a reflection: how much pleasure in the present versus how much suffering in the present, how much suffering in the future x how much pleasure in the future, evaluating these hypotheses in the presence and absence of the drug.

But in this case, we do not evaluate external material elements, but the well-being, the physical and emotional sensations. We evaluate what is sensible, what is experiential in the body.

Putting it in sporting terms, we can say that exercising always produces pleasure. Endorphins are bouncing in the body against any physical exercise. But competing and overcoming oneself generates an unmatched endorphin discharge. Thus, when this is experienced once or twice, the body comes to understand more clearly the interest in this sensation. This becomes a necessity.

It sounds silly, but that explains a lot when you get to live with people who practice CrossFit or mid-distance racing and compete on weekends. These people are so attached to the experience of overcoming and physical activity that it occupies the whole of life.

Very competitive people in the workplace go through the same situation. The body learns the relationship between dedication and battle and the promotions won, the attention aroused in the environment, and becomes a tool for this purpose. One transforms the whole of one’s life in the pursuit of building a career.

Another group of people who get caught in this trap is the test-makers. They schedule hours of daily study with a load of readings and simulations that is unreachable. But as the results of the exams improve, the behavior of studying is reinforced and therefore understood by the brain as pressing.

Businessmen saw comes exclusively from this system.

Even in family businesses we see a very annoying scene for employees: the entrepreneur or owner keeps changing the rules of conduct or production almost in accordance with the mood. This reflects this internal force that does not allow us to pursue what works well and brings the bonanza.

The human brain developed from a predecessor in common with chimpanzees and gorillas. This group that differentiated itself as homo anything, was responsible for the development of one Homo Habilis, or man with skills. From homo habilis to homo sapiens was a leap. What the habilis had of great differential was the use of tools found in the environment around it: a branch to take fruit from the tree, a stone to cut the meat, small solutions to the small problems of that reality.

What sapiens (we) do is to develop more sophisticated tools for more complicated problems. The biggest problems remain the same: live longer and live better. But homo sapiens, through the development of language and the consequent construction of cultural space, eventually emerged from natural space (literally, extinguishing nature, which is restricted to small reserves).

As a result, the brain had to quickly adapt. He has learned to read and write, speak and understand in less than 1 million years. But, he couldn’t stop hunting. The change in the pattern of needs failed to adapt, and in the cultural space survival no longer depends on fear but on strategy. But the brain keeps hunting, it still needs to read the reason for the action, the behavior, as deprivation or need.

So when it’s “okay”, when things are comfortable (even in misery and with a certain hunger) it’s still hard to change. For change to come, you have to put your brain in hunting mode. We use in Brazil the expression “becoming a warrior”. It takes this combative state of mind to generate the energy and focus needed for change.

This combative spirit will almost always come to needs. But when all is well and there is only the will to move forward, then one has to be inspired to change. You have to become a CrossFit-maker of life: yelling at yourself and demanding, generating insecurity and fear, until you can move in the direction of the necessary change.

Comfortable living generates a comfortable head, and I particularly love this state. I love porch life with a good book, some tea and the sunset behind the hill. But for many people, even for those who have this possibility, this privilege, this enjoyment becomes impossible because of this constant training of being warrior and combative. Turning off this potential advancing force is a difficult exercise for most of us.

How many of us don’t tell our parents (including my dad on this list) that “it’s time to enjoy life and enjoy what you sowed and reaped.”? My father has always been and is very enterprising, very combative. He understands walking on the beach as a time to cool off and think about new business !!!

That sense of need, created mentally to stimulate advancement, change in the states of life, has become an endless cycle. It’s okay if there’s no suffering and heart attack.

Raul de Freitas Buchi

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