Problems force us to make choices, however, often the choices we make resonate with our present thinking. And, our present thinking reflects our life experiences that form our identity, our sense of self and our own personhood. If this true, then when we face a problem which suggests we choose a different path, or a different way of doing things, the decision to choose that path becomes hard.
The act of solving a problem forces us to choose, to seek alternative ways to the way we think about or do things. When we work through this process we often choose a solution that re-enforces our present way of thinking and acting. Thus, we think inside the box rather than outside the box. It’s not a breakthrough choice. We become trapped within our own world and keep doing what we always did. We don’t want to change, because change takes us out of our comfort zone.
When we are asked to move out of our comfort zone, we often resist. Sometimes we fight, flee or acquiesce in a passive aggressive way by not really accepting the new path and may, consciously or unconsciously, work to undermine the process of moving forward.
This is why, when leaders see a need to take a different course than what people are used to or are comfortable with, they often meet with resistance. On the one hand, leaders see a need for change and on the other people through time and experience have engendered a sense of “fit” with their work and their present way of doing things. They have clothed themselves with a sense of comfort with what is. They are not ready to take on the unknown and the ambiguity of it all.
So how do we as individuals get comfortable with choices that don’t seem to fit with our way of thinking? And how do leaders help others choose a different path?
As individuals we can:
As leaders we can:
Quote: “When you change the way you look at things and the things you look at change” Wayne W. Dyer
Author: Richard P. Fontanie MSW, FCMC