When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, the other represents opportunity.
John F Kennedy
One thing that always used to puzzle me is how we as human beings could allow ourselves to regress into deeper and deeper states of dilapidation without doing anything about it. Surely the desire to live well would propel us to action? A story about a frog and a psychopath helped me to understand. Spot the psychopath. Is it the person who plops a frog into boiling water or the one who plops a frog into cool water that heats up slowly? Well neither of these two would win any animal rights awards, but without a doubt if he knew what to expect, the 2nd person would be the psychopath. Thrown into boiling water a frog will jump out, thrown in water that heats up slowly until steaming, the frog will allow itself to be boiled alive.
In the fist scenario the burning pain immediately propels the frog to jump out. In the second scenario because it happens slowly the frog doesn’t notice the worsening of the situation. Psychologists call this habituation. After continual exposure to a stimulus or a slow intensification of a stimulus we stop noticing it.
Habituation is important for survival, if we were constantly aroused by every single stimulus we would go mad. But allowing yourself to be boiled to death is also a form of madness. Nobody becomes obese overnight, most people don’t lose all their money or destroy their relationships in a day. It happens often imperceptibly over years. And so we get used to our reduced state. We spiral down into indebtedness, obesity, broken relationships and unhappiness like frogs enjoying a nice hot bath. One way to move is to raise our awareness of the boiling water. To face the pain and let it motivate us to get out of there.
(This is an extract from Life Coach Audio Book 4: How to use the power of positive habits to turn your life around. Available at bookstores countrywide)
Tonight (Tuesday 27 March) I will be interviewed on 3Talk, SABC 3 on how to let go of destructive habits.
Unleash Your Potential!
Justin Cohen is the author of two books and seven audio books. He presented and produced a television talk show, where he interviewed experts on success such as American Presidential consultant, Dr John Maxwell. He speaks and trains in companies across South Africa and abroad. Justin’s areas of expertise are in motivation, sales, customer satisfaction, leadership and change. He has an honours degree in Psychology. For more on Justin’s presentations and seminars please go to www.justinpresents.com
Motivational Speaker, author and trainer