Change is fucking hard. It doesn’t just happen. No one wakes up and chooses to go against what they’ve been doing or how they’be been thinking for most of their life, even if they know it’s unhealthy. No one decides to put massive effort into something that doesn’t come with some kind of guarantee. We want proof or we’re not going to sign. And since there is no contract with change, since change is only an idea, a speculation, there must be something at stake that is of tremendous value to you or change will not occur. Will you run as fast as you can if I gave you ten dollars? Maybe. Will you run as fast as you can if there’s a bear chasing you? Obviously. In the latter, your life is at stake. If your life has no value to you, then that may be a maybe too.
Most people are interested in change but not committed. What’s at stake isn’t great enough. How many people say they’re going to lose weight but two months later, they’ve only gone to the gym twice? Losing weight becomes this looming idea, something to add to their check list of “to dos” that never turns into reality. Then they feel shitty about themselves because they couldn’t do it and gain more weight.
Many may argue that change doesn’t happen if we don’t believe we have the ability to make that change. Without a belief that it’s actually possible, why invest? If a doctor tells you you will die if you don’t lose ten pounds in the next two weeks, chances are you will lose that weight whether you believe you can or not. Unless you don’t care about your life, which again goes back to what’s at stake. If what’s at stake is valuable enough, you won’t give yourself a choice. Addicts don’t seek treatment until they’ve lost a marriage, job, family, children, freedom, their life. They enter rehab because there are no more choices. And for the ones that are there with choices, will relapse.
You have to think of change in these terms. There’s no other way. So ask yourself, assuming you are seeking or in the process of change, what is at stake?
If you’re still thinking, it’s not big enough.
When I ask people if they want to change, everyone says yes. Or “yeah, that’s why I’m talking to you”. No, talking to me doesn’t mean you’re going to change. It just means you’re interested in it. Talking to me once a week for six months and doing the work we come up with and getting others to make you accountable because you would rather die than be the old you or who you are now, means you want change.
Okay, so what do you want to change in your life? Relationships. Career. Body… For most people, external things. Great. But it all starts within. Secondary change is an inside out process. Not an outside in. That’s not change. That’s a Band Aid. So the more the stake is an internal object, the more power, meaning, and value, it will hold. Losing your worth is more powerful than losing your car.
Here are a few of my “stakes”, what I remind myself is at risk, may lose, if I don’t __________.
Life. What I mean by this is if I’m not growing, I’m dying. Period. That’s how I choose to see growth. I don’t give myself a choice to look at it any other way. So if I don’t put an effort toward change daily, and of course some days are harder than others and being okay with that is also an effort to change, I know I am dying inside. Rotting away. My refusal to die.
Purpose. I believe we are all meant to do something on this planet before we go. It took thirty plus years but I finally feel like I have some sense of purpose and it’s extremely valuable to me. It’s what gets me up in the morning and into bed at night. But more importantly, no one can take that away but myself.
My character. It is important for me to model what I preach. I know I have defects and my own struggles. But if I don’t practice what I preach, I’m a hypocrite. My character is valuable to me. It wasn’t in my twenties, but it is of tremendous value to me today. The reason is I had to build it. And it took a lot of fucking work. Not willing to lose that.
These are some of the things that are more valuable to me than any amount of money, external objects, yes, even Porsches and custom motorcycles, AND relationships, both romantic and platonic.
These stakes give me the leverage I need to change.
What’s at stake for you?
Drive it into the ground.
Then let it drive you.
Ready to drive your stake and make a change? Find your tribe now!