For each of us, the process of transformational learning takes place within an internal battlefield. On one side of this combat zone stands that part of us that understands the need for constructive change. On the other side, we find that part of us that is more than capable of generating reasons for continuing down our current path. You can see this battle take place daily in a dozen small skirmishes. “I know that I need to quit smoking” you say, “but right now I’m under a lot of stress.” Or you ask yourself, “Would it really punch such a big hole in our family budget if we broke down and bought that new sports car?” or, a work example: “I really should let Susan run with this, since she would learn a great deal. The thing is, I did not build my career on taking risks for the sake of developing peoples’ skills.”
The simple fact is that when it comes to finding ways to rationalize our behavior, renege on personal commitments, or procrastinate on taking the tough actions that can help us realize our goals, we are all masters of deceit. The headwinds of resistance to change become especially forceful when we are attempting to undertake a life transition that involves a high degree of personal risk and uncertainty. Here, we find, securely entrenched in the fortified bunker of our psyche, that part of ourselves that finds the prospect of stepping into the unknown tedious, anxiety-provoking, and often more than a little intimidating.
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