How to overcome change resistance
Why do people resist change? Michelle Rozen, a psychologist who is known as "The Change Doctor," gave some insights during a Thursday session at the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Apex Conference in Phoenix.
Rozen is author of 2-Second Decisions. She gave attendees advice on how to move forward through change with confidence.
Change resistance has its roots in the brain, she said. The brain takes up about 20% of the body’s overall energy just to survive, she noted, and added that the brain does not want to use more of that energy, so it plays tricks on our body and our behavior.
Two ways the brain plays tricks on people, she said, are:
- The information gap. Where people believe they know everything about themselves but don’t know anything about others. As a result, we are uncertain of others’ behavior and motives. Because the brain hates uncertainty, Rozen said, “it makes up stuff about other people and why they do what they do.”
- The validation gap. We love it when someone agrees with us, Rozen said. But if you need advice, you are more likely to receive good advice by going to people who disagree with you.
When you want to make a change, Rozen recommended following these steps:
- Pledge to change one thing in your life.
- Scale it 1-10 based on how important that change is to you.
- Write down three specific things you will do to make that change.
Burnout is a problem in business and in society, Rozen said. To combat burnout, she described her 20-minute rule.
When people are burned out, hungry or sleepy, she said, the rational part of the brain shuts down and the part of the brain that creates impulsive behavior takes over. The key is to take 20 minutes to think something over and excuse yourself from a stressful situation. Then return to the situation and you are more likely to handle it in a rational way.
Rozen also called for people to be more present in others’ lives.
“When you give someone your undivided attention, you show them they’re important to you and they will do the same thing for you,” she said. “When you see the good in others and you verbalize it to them, they will want to work with you.”