Is It REALLY Possible for People To Change?
Can people substantially change? This question represents the abyss we all find ourselves teetering on at least once in our lives, and until we are convinced that substantial change is possible, our lives remain little more than a waking dream. The abyss is imagined; it is no more real than a child’s nightmare. A new awareness of the power of progress can open our eyes so that we discover that what is before us is not an abyss but a path. The answer lies in taking the first step.
A pitcher doesn’t throw a hundred-mile-per-hour fastball on his first attempt. First he learns to hold the ball, then he learns to throw the ball, and then he learns to throw the ball in the right di- rection. These steps are so fundamental that we overlook them. Only then does a pitcher begin to improve speed and accuracy. He throws a seventy-mile-per-hour ball before he throws an eighty-mile-per-hour ball, and a ninety-mile-per-hour ball before he throws that hundred-mile-per-hour fastball. There may be days when he can’t throw as fast as he could the day before. In these moments, he must either celebrate his overall progress or focus on some aspect other than speed. He is not throwing as fast, but per- haps he is moving the ball better than he ever has or throwing with more accuracy. At every juncture, he celebrates his progress.
When a pitcher gets injured, he begins rehabilitation by going back to basics. He returns to the beginning, even to such fundamentals as learning to hold the ball again. A great rehab coach designs a plan with stages and goals along the way so that the recovering athlete can celebrate his progress.
Celebrating progress is fundamental in the psychology of change. In our culture we tend to celebrate by eating or buying things, but the celebration I speak of here is something that takes place within us. Celebrating progress means giving yourself a psychological pat on the back. There is nothing more powerful than the way you speak to yourself. Celebrating progress is the first secret to breaking those patterns of failure.
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