Plant in Hands. Ecology Concept

Words of Wisdom: A Reminder from “The Engineers of Life”


As you welcome in the new year, 2019, what are you thinking? How are you feeling? What does this new year mean to you? Does it feel like a new birth, a new beginning? Are you feeling a new vitality as you think about your new possibilities?

Think for a moment about a new year past. Did you begin it with this same kind of thinking, were you feeling a new energy, only to have it soon dissipate into the blackhole that lies within the ‘dailyness’ of your life?  If so, you are far from alone. If you are sincere about making this new year different, take a few moments to read what follows.

First though, let us be clear. We do not intend to bore you with the same old advice about goal setting, time management, positive thinking, and more. Please don’t misunderstand, we believe each of these is important. But, without understanding what we are about to share, this well-intended advice will lead to temporary changes at best.

The Force is with You

I believe there are three very powerful human forces that sabotage well-meaning intentions to change any behavior. I put them in the category of “fish can’t see water.” These forces are as difficult to see, to acknowledge, as the air we breathe. They are not especially difficult to understand, just as the knowledge of how to swim makes perfect sense when taught in a classroom. However, we learn how to swim not in the classroom but in the water. We must jump in and start paddling. Now, let’s jump in and discuss these three powerful human forces.

Need for the Familiar

The first force is our very strong need for the familiar. This is a basic biochemical need shared by all human beings and is difficult to overcome. In different degrees, we all seek comfort, certainty and safety. Here are some life patterns that are indicators of its presence:

  • Chronic struggle
  • Certain relationships not working
  • Irritability with those people closest to you
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control
  • Boredom with life in general
  • Chronic depression, feelings of guilt, low energy

If any of these patterns are part of your daily life, then you are attached to your familiar more than you know. Accepting this as fact and addressing it is critically important if you wish to make 2019.

Resisting Emotional Pain

The second force is our resistance to experiencing emotional pain. Whenever we implement meaningful change(s), you will experience pain. Changing one’s life from struggle, unhappiness, boredom, broken relationships, or simply feeling not good enough, takes extraordinary courage and can be extremely painful. Why is this? It is because all change, whether positive or negative, causes loss.

Let me repeat that… All change causes loss, especially of the familiar.

Typical behaviors to dull emotional pain can include abuse of alcohol, drugs and food, binge-watching television, and others. If we can recognize this and instead dredge up the courage to accept the emotional pain of loss, then this new year could be a magnificent breakthrough.

Lack of Trust in Self

The third force is our lack of trust in self, which can manifest as uncertainty, low confidence, a sense of feeling judged, and others. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, self-doubt is a universal suffering, and if ignored, we will fail to make the deep commitment needed to change.

By commitment, we are referring to our strong intention and desire to let go of the familiar, such as unhealthy beliefs, habits, behaviors, and relationships that are holding us back. And our willingness to feel the emotional pain that will accompany our new commitment. Our spouse, children, and closest friends may feel threatened by our new attitude, our commitment to become a new and better person. They may resist. This means we will need to be prepared to accept feelings of isolation and of being judged. There are no guarantees in the world of meaningful change. We will experience all the uncertainties of the new, unpredictable world awaiting us. How exciting is that? We can already feel the new vitality beginning to emerge.

New Year, New You

I hope this “reminder” will contribute to your new-found courage in making the changes necessary for the new year, 2019, to be your new birth, your new beginning, full of the new possibilities you are hoping for. If you would like to explore these self-sabotaging forces in more detail, please feel free to send a comment with your thoughts, observations or questions by going to survepartners.com/contact/ and submitting the form.

In the Spirit of Learning through Life…
James H. Blackburn
Senior Partner and Bestselling Author





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