One of the things I consistently see in my work with clients is a frustration with the pace of change. Part of this is a culturally conditioned desire for change at the flip of a switch, but part of it is that they are so close to what is happening (i.e., they're inside what's happening), day in and day out, that they don't see the change.
It's kind of like being around a kid who is growing. When you are constantly around them, the daily change is still pretty incremental, and while you notice their growth, you don't see the big jump. But when someone who hasn't seen them in six months sees them they say, "Wow! You've grown!"
When I see that frustration, I will often refer back to the benchmark of the beginning. "Remember what things were like when you first decided to contact me? Look at how much has changed since then." It puts things in perspective.
Here's a study that found that taking an external look at change can have a substantial impact on how much change you perceive has taken place.
The researchers did a series of studies in which they asked people to picture a given event in their own lives from either a first-person or third-person perspective. The participants were then asked how much they had changed since the event had occurred.
In one study, they asked 38 college students who had been in psychotherapy to recall their very first treatment appointment. About half were told to visualize that appointment “looking out at your surroundings through your own eyes” (first-person). The other half were told to visualize that first treatment “from an observer’s visual perspective” (third-person).
All the participants rated how much they had changed since their first appointment on a scale of 0 (not at all) to 10 (completely). Results showed that people who were told to picture that initial treatment from a third-person perspective saw more change in themselves (average score of 7.18) than did those who were told to take the first-person viewpoint (average score of 5.64).
A perceived lack of progress can be frustrating and demotivating. Taking an objective look can help you get a more realistic picture, which in turn can help you stick with your efforts and keep moving forward.
Take a look at any of the change you're working towards in your life. Does it feel like you've made much progress? Then look at it from a 3rd person perspective. Notice any difference?
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM