Practice Patiently and Persistently

Practice Patiently and Persistently

Recognizing that sudden epiphanies do happen, and can cause sudden, drastic changes, I’d like to suggest that it is far more common for change to come as a result of small, repeated steps over a span of time. That’s generally how humans learn. It is certainly how we learn most comfortably. You MIGHT have been thrown into the sea as your first and only “swimming lesson,” but I’m guessing – even of you did learn to swim, it wasn’t very comfortable, right?!

To use the example of quitting smoking, the typical advice looks something like this:
– pick a quit date
– circle it on your calendar
– tell all your friends
– throw away your ashtrays
– get some medication
– STOP (this habit you’ve repeated a million times over years or decades!)

Really?! Can’t you feel the stress piling up with each additional step? It sorta reminds me of the ‘getting thrown overboard’ style of swimming lesson. Yikes! Adding all of that extra stress can have detrimental outcomes and can set us up for failure.

Whatever change you’re considering, think about breaking it down into smaller, more gradual steps. It can take some of the angst out of the process. Give yourself time for practice and mastery of some small steps on your way to the big change. But be sure to persist, even if learning is slow at times.

Practice, patience, persistence add up to power – power to change almost anything! Now, if an epiphany happens that allows you to change, effortlessly, overnight – awesome! But until that happens, let’s take a reasoned approach to change that is consistent with human learning.


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