Your natural style doesn’t limit your ability to change…unless you choose to let it. At one time or another we’ve all heard people so “That’s just who I am.” or “It’s the way I’m wired.”
That attitude is fine as long as your natural style is serving you, and others, well. It’s when it gets in the way of you enjoying the life you desire that’s it’s a problem. That’s when it’s time to make a conscious choice. You can lock yourself into your natural style or you can retrain your brain to develop new, more satisfying habits.
It’s easy to say “That’s just who I am.” Retraining your brain takes work, although it can be done fairly quickly if you’re committed…as the following example demonstrates.
Overcoming natural style
For the first 40 years of my life I was a procrastinator. Not enough to get me viewed as lazy, uncaring or a slacker, but enough that I’d wait until midnight to begin writing a paper for an 8 a.m. class or beginning a project at work.
It was during my 41st year that I began my business providing part-time CFO services. In the early months there were several occasions when I got a new project and thought “I’ve got three weeks to complete this, no problem.” Then I spend entire weekends working until the wee hours of the morning to complete the task on time. I came away exhausted from both the stress and long hours.
After the third instance I thought “This is crazy. The stress is awful. I’m exhausted for days. All because I waited until the last minute to start.” I vowed never to let it happen again. From that moment to this very day, some 30+ years, I deal with whatever comes my way as quickly as time becomes available. I no longer suffer the stress, fear and anxiety my procrastination used to engender. I also have my weekends available to play as I wish. Change can happen that quickly if you so desire.
Not every natural style will be that easy to change. Overcoming a natural style requires:
- An awareness of what your natural style is.
- The results it’s producing. (Often unnoticed until it becomes painful.)
- A desire to eliminate the pain.
- A conscious choice to change. All too often we make these choices subconsciously which leaves us vulnerable to emotional swings instead of conscious commitment.
- A commitment to develop the habit of behaving in a more productive manner.
The more conscious your choice and the stronger the commitment, the more quickly you’ll get better results. These results enhance your desire to continue to reap the rewards of your efforts and, thus, accelerate the achievement of new, more productive habits.
For our kids
When you see your kids blaming their natural style, help them understand that they’re making a choice. One that may not serving them well. Express your confidence in their ability to change if they so desire. Then let them choose.
They may choose not to change and that’s okay. Often we humans have to experience pain before we’re willing to change. It may be that the pain isn’t great enough yet for your child to choose to change.
Given enough time, and the awareness you created through discussions with your kids, they’ll choose to make the change. They’re also more likely to change when they have seen the results you get when you overcome your natural style.
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share them in a comment below.
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