Hi there, and thank you for your interest in Your Power to Change. This material brings together over 14 years of study, practice, consulting and teaching about behavior change, and it draws on a variety of fields including personal development, behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, coaching and positive psychology.
The material is now being piloted, with an anticipated course launch in May, 2021. If you would like to be informed about when the book and/or program are available, please sign-up for the mailing list (below) and enjoy the introduction to the book.
By Andrea Grayson, EdD, MA
A Native American Legend goes like this:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, gilt, resentment, inferiority, likes, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
I refer to this poignant parable often, as it recognizes a fundament principle of brain science: neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity explains how we can continue to learn and change as we grow older, cultivating new habits and beliefs that then become our go-to habits: as we start walking a new path of thinking, the old one wanes from disuse. Persistence is key. This 2-minute video animation does a great job of explaining this phenomenon. Yes. You. Can. Change. You just need to start walking.
The ability to change requires that you first become aware of what habits of thought and action are currently your default ways of being. Most of us develop habits without really thinking about them, and then consider them “just the way it is.” “That’s just me.” “That’s the way I do it.” And also the opposite: “I could never…” or “That’s just not me,” or “That’s not my style.”
It is normal to consider our likes and dislikes as inexorably tied to our sense of identify. After all, who would you be if you didn’t love chocolate or beer or flowers, or a trim physique? This is partly why change is so hard: To change is to experience a loss of a part of ourselves, a part that we have nurtured and adopted as our own. In order to change we have to leave something behind, which can feel like a loss, and even invoke feelings of fear or anxiety. But it can also, simultaneously, feel like the releasing of a burden. A letting go. An evolution into the next step of our being.
At this writing, I am at this very pivot point with alcohol. My love of an ice-cold, bone-dry glass of rose on a summer evening has been a defining ritual – and a most enjoyable one at that. And yet, I have a profound sense that it is holding me back from experiencing the next level of my unfoldment…and yet there is still a longing. I sometimes miss it. But then I think about where I am heading, and I feel a surge of energy propelling me forward.
And therein likes one of the first keys to change, held in the Cherokee parable and also neuroscience: The part that grows is the one you feed.
The image of a trapeze artist comes to mind. There is a moment of suspension between the release from the swing and grasp of the receiver.
This can be the scariest part of change, the moment when you realize that you have to turn your back on a favorite behavior and a tangible part of your identity, and do not yet have a clear picture of where you are going.
That is where the creative imagination comes in. You can’t become something else – or start or stop a behavior – unless you think about it and imagine it first. Grow it and nurture it, so you can become it.
To change is a creative act.
To change is to participate in the miracle of life.
To change is to evolve into the next possibility of you, of all of us.
You can transcend your limitations.
You are limitless.
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