Before you try and change others, just remember how hard it is to change yourself.

Before you try and change others, just remember how hard it is to change yourself.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that we believe wholeheartedly that we will be able to instigate a permanent change in another, when it is so amazingly hard to do same to ourselves.

You can see this happen in a new romantic relationship, a parent/child relationship (going in either direction), between friends and work colleagues.

It is a temptation in the course of a relationship to see a variable in the other that you feel might be better or different or grown or diminished. Filmmakers love this paradigm because it makes both great drama and great comedy. 

The reason that it makes both comedy and drama is because the reality of setting such an unrealistic expectation, and embarking upon it, is fraught with the same battles we face when attempting to do same to ourselves. These battles both internally and externally are often countered by patterned behavior, addiction, psychological needs, emotional needs, upbringing, culture, gender differences, political differences and so much more. So the subject is ripe for comedic and dramatic exploitation in literature and media, but in real life, the practicality of actually accomplishing the stimulation that leads to substantive change in another is very slim on the best of days.

We set internal resolutions. Some we are able to keep and instill into our overall lives and others are moments and experiences with which we flirt, but often times fail to build a solid rapport.

Is it possible to bring about the change in another? Sometimes. Is there a defined formula that works? Sometimes. Is it worth even trying? Sometimes.

I think the very best approach is to model the behavior we wish to see in the other person. This sounds passive and perhaps it is, but it has significant impact as the others are watching you live out your life.

Would it be better to chastise the other party and call them out on the carpet, like Mick does to Rocky? Perhaps that party needs the wakeup call. Or perhaps that choice will permanently alienate them from you for a host of reasons starting with you inserting yourself into their personal affairs and ending with them projecting their own disappointment with themselves on you in a psychological transference that happens on a subconscious level. They start to associate your dissatisfaction with them as being the problem, rather than themself examining and seeing the problem as coming from within.

Regardless of whether you are silent and role model the proper behavior or vocal and express your feelings to the other party, tact and diplomacy really matter in a discussion such as this. The choice to be accusatory in your approach is a surefire way to alienate that person. Whereas, if you frame your statement with something akin to: “have you considered how different things might be if….”

We are quick to see what needs fixing in others and more willing to overlook our own shortcomings than those of another. So perhaps the next time you find fault with someone else, before you communicate anything, take personal inventory about things about you that may not sit perfectly with them. The proverbial: “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” And then, if you are really set on communicating this issue with them, start  first by trying to fix something about you that they may find problematic. If you are able to do this, then you can start your discussion by sharing that you have worked hard of late to rectify whatever it is that you have tried to fix. If they acknowledge that, you are half way there to getting their energy focused on what they might do at your request.

Happy Monday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!