Your nature is like an elephant – strong, steady and powerful.
Your will is like a rider.
When the two want to go the same way, no problem.
If your will and your nature want to go different directions, your nature wins.
The point of application of new skills is a point of confrontation and stress. Under duress we revert to habit.
Old learning or instinct, no matter how flawed, prevails over new learning.
Change is possible.
Here’s a formula I have used to train my own elephant:
- Think of a time you did something new and uncomfortable.
- What made the change happen?
- Look for a pattern in what causes you to change.
When I did this exercise, I thought of several examples. All involved writing an instruction to myself and having it in front of me at the moment of truth.
- When I started cold calling in earnest, I had a flip chart with a written call flow chart that I followed.
- Prior to negotiation, I have a written mobile defense plan in front of me.
- Learning to quantify the cost of a problem, I had my notepad on a sales call with a CEO, with an instruction to myself, “Do not turn the page until the cost of the problem is determined.”
A written instruction to myself ensures I do it.
Once my elephant does something new with success, it overcomes its fear and learns to trust the new process.