Why do people in bad situations resist change? In a rich country (for now) like the United States, even the poorest of the poor have every opportunity to make something of themselves. Yet it seems instead that most people develop a sense of entitlement and cultivate a victim mentality.
When I was younger, I once sat in on a business meeting with a wealthy real estate mogul. While most of what was discussed at the time went way over my head, one piece of advice made sense to me: “If you’re hungry and the only thing you have to eat is a shit sandwich,” he said, “don’t bite into it and pretend it tastes good.”
If you are going to start a business, don’t fall in love with the idea just because it looks good on paper, because once you are committed, you might end up stuck there for a very long time. Similarly, in life, if you are in a bad situation, don’t just sit there and accept your lot, because you might be very unhappy for a very long time.
I’ve wanted to write a book on this very topic for the longest time, but the truth is I just don’t understand why people don’t want to change. And the people that do want to change seem to find the course of action necessary to propel them forward, almost nullifying the need for such a book.
Below are three reasons I believe people choose not to change:
People Are Ignorant
The only excusable reason. Many people that don’t change don’t change because they don’t know they can change. Clever little repetitive sentence huh? Even confronted with staggering evidence, many people will hold onto old beliefs ingrained in them throughout an entire lifetime, and they don’t even try to change because they think it is futile. A very small percentage of people discover that they can change, and it transforms their world.
People Are Lazy
A nicer way of saying this: change is uncomfortable. It requires effort. It requires faith. It requires action with no certain guarantees of a worthwhile return. Many people have grown comfortable with the way things are, and even though things can be much better, they do not wish for it to be better. This is at least mildly understandable.
People Don’t Like to Be Wrong
To me this is the stupidest reason. Oftentimes when I have a disagreement with somebody else over an issue, I admit that there’s a possibility I could be wrong (even when there isn’t), but that we should do our homework and come to a single conclusion based on solid evidence. I’ve found that most people make excuses and refuse to challenge what they assume they know, even if the information can potentially save their life. I’ve found that most people, regardless of age, race, sex, income level, political viewpoint, religion, or sexual preference would rather eat a shit sandwich or die than admit their wrongdoing.
For you Christians out there – remember, Satan’s sin was pride too.
As a final note, let me acknowledge that I am aware that this is a grossly oversimplified argument. I’m aware that a 650ish word article (which is extremely lengthy and long-winded for a blog post) is not enough to build a case to really prove my point. I’m aware that there are other variables, factors, personal situations, etc. that may have an impact on people’s various outcomes. I understand that there are exceptions to every rule. I get it.
But for a single moment, just consider it.
I’d close by telling you that you have every opportunity to improve your life if you will only take responsibility and do something about it, but I’d be wasting my breath. If you were going to change something, you’d be in the process already, and if you weren’t, then you wouldn’t listen to me anyway.
Maybe a small percentage of you will hear me.