"Sometimes we stay in Hell a long time because we have learned the names of the streets."
~ Michael Levine

“Sometimes we stay in Hell a long time because we have learned the names of the streets.” ~ Michael Levine

Why People Resist Change

So the question is, “Why do we continue to feel, think, and do things that don’t work for us?” It’s not that we don’t know what’s going on. It’s just so hard to change! I believe that these old, habitual ways of being have their roots in how the brain is wired, and, therefore, unless we can change this internal wiring, all we will do is continue to go down these old “streets” looking for a new address, but only continuing to see the same old scenery.

Of course, for those of you who follow my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy, you know that these old “streets” are actually neural pathways in the brain that were formed in our past and have been strengthened through habitual repetition. This is especially challenging when these pathways are controlled by the unconscious parts of the brain, specifically the middle brain, or limbic system, and the lower brain known as the brainstem.

In other words, how we have learned to see ourselves and the world is continuing to influence our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in ways that may be trapping us in “hell” (experiencing anxiety, frustration, depression, a lack of self-worth etc.), and yet, because it is familiar (we know the names of the streets or how to survive), we are reluctant to change.

If this describes your world or the world of someone that you know, the good news is that there are ways to change the landscape. What this will mean, however, is moving to a new neighborhood (what I call the Top of the Mind) and being willing to learn new ways of navigation, or how to get around, so that we can consistently access our best, regardless of the situation.

The system that I have created to help those interested in such a move is called “Life from the Top of the Mind,” and I see it as a GPS for life. It shows us where we are, where we want to go, and gives us turn-by-turn navigation for how to get there (thanks to my friend and super speaker, Dean Minuto, for the GPS idea). To make it more meaningful, I make “GPS” stand for “Guided Perspective Shift” because I believe that this shift in perspective will be necessary to changing “locations.”

The first shift in perspective (and the first part of my system) involves learning new information about what is really going on when we find ourselves reacting to life with anxiety, frustration, or depression. This means having a rudimentary understanding of how the brain processes information, and a model for shifting to the clear, confident, creative brain when triggered. This will be important because we must be in the proactive brain versus the reactive brain to implement purposeful change.

The second shift in perspective will be a process for rewiring the brain so that we are creating, practicing, and strengthening new “streets,” or neural pathways until they become second nature, or our new neighborhood. This is obviously easier said than done, but can be accomplished in as little as two to four months if practiced every day.

Given that so many of our meaningful aspects of life have to do with our interactions with others, the third shift in perspective (and the third part of my system) is about engaging others (especially those “difficult others”) so that they shift from their resistant brain to their receptive brain where we can actually create more purposeful, solution-focused conversations and relationships. As you might imagine, this is the most challenging aspect of the model, and the one that will require new skills to bring to life.

If this move sounds like something that would be good for you, your family, or your organization, I suggest that you contact me, because until we truly understand the neuroscience of why we are stuck in “hell” and have a system for relocating to a new, more purposeful, productive, and meaningful neighborhood, we will continually find ourselves driving down the same old streets, hitting pot hole after pot hole, and cursing other people and/or situations for putting us there.

~ All the best, Dr. Bill