Shepherd Wealth & Retirement - August 2018

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AUGUST 2018

THE DANGER OF Personal Growth Is Required in a Changing World Habits

I saw a cartoon a couple of weeks back that brought to light an interesting conundrum we face as a society. The first panel displayed someone asking in front of a crowd, “How many people want things to change?” All hands were raised. “How many people want to change?” read the next panel. Not a single hand in the air. Too often, we let our habits and “comfort zones” take over and stand in the way of making genuine progress in our lives even though we want change to happen. These behaviors build walls that at first glance are thought to protect us — and certainly do — but under closer examination can actually hinder personal development. The chains of habits are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. –Samuel Johnson As long as we are in these comfort zones, we never have to embrace situations that might force us to change. But even if we do want to change our habits, it takes a specific mindset to breach the defenses that guard them. Willpower isn’t enough to enact meaningful change. In his new book, “Willpower Doesn’t Work,” Benjamin Hardy writes that environment is much more important than willpower. The people in our lives, the thoughts we tell ourselves, and the structure of our living environment are the keys. In other words, change your environment, change your behavior.

The progress I’m referring to requires an environment that is conducive to new ideas and adaptive to change. A 2005 National Science Foundation study claimed that we have anywhere between 12,000–60,000 thoughts per day. 80 percent of those are negative, and 95 percent are the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. Negativity and repetition are indicators of stagnation, and you can’t move forward if you’re stagnant.

What about health/exercise/nutrition? How hard is it to change those habits when everything is going fine? But what about if you had a heart attack? What about relationships? Maybe seeking the pleasure of someone’s company? I know that, as a young man, it was really stepping out of my comfort zone to ask a young lady out the first couple times. But it was a confidence builder to step out of my comfort zone and the best learning experience. You don’t improve habits or skills when you don’t have to, and your thinking is a habit and skill. Let me give you some perspective on how much change is happening. My father told me he and his friends, all of whom are in their late 70s to early 80s, discussed what were the most significant changes in their lifetimes a few years ago. One of their picks was indoor plumbing! Look how far we’ve come in a short time. Without constant growth, your habits — physical and mental — will have all the power in the world to take over and prevent you from acting on meaningful change. And in a world where the pace of change is increasing, standing still is really going backward. If you would like a free copy of Benjamin Hardy’s book, “Willpower Doesn’t Work,” send us an email or call and we will send one to you!

IF ALL CHANGE REALLY DOES TAKE PLACE OUTSIDE OF OUR COMFORT ZONE, THEN WE NEED TO FIND REASONS TO GET OUT OF OUR NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES TO GROW.

If all change really does take place outside of our comfort zone, then we need to find reasons to get out of our normal circumstances to grow. The best way to do that is by understanding how we frame our thoughts. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins explains that we change from either the desire to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. But when it’s “comfortable,” many people feel it’s working okay — no need to change. We all do; it’s human nature.

–Dave Shepherd

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