Guest Post by Hyrum W. Smith – Overcome Your Anxiety About Change
Hyrum W. Smith is most noted for being the founder of Franklin Covey, maker of the Franklin Planner and other productivity systems and workshops.
Hyrum’s latest book, entitled “The 3 Gaps”, has just been released and addresses what we must change when we realize we are falling short of the lives we want for ourselves. Today’s post from Hyrum addresses those needed changes and how we should approach them.
“When we talk to people about the gaps we all have in our lives between what we value and what we do, inevitably people identify with the problem. They come up with excellent examples that illustrate the point we are trying to make. When we talk about how to fix the problem, however, a lot of anxiety pops up. The truth is that it is a lot easier to talk about change in our lives than it is to actually make the changes that would lead to greater happiness.
“So how do we get past the psychological resistance that is part of all of us? How do we overcome our natural defensiveness when confronted with the concept that some of the things we have always believed about how the world works and how we should relate to it may be producing behavior that hurts us rather than helps us? Essentially, answering that question is one of the key driving forces behind the formation of 3Gaps. Like a lot of things in life, once you understand the process, the concept loses a lot of its intimidation factor.
“One of the trickiest factors to handle is cultural. We live in a time when we are encouraged to externalize our problems. If we are finding a hard time getting a job, it must be someone else’s fault. If we feel excluded from social activity, people must be conspiring against us. If we lack friends, it must be because people don’t like something about us we can’t change (our gender, our race, our hair color, our body type, our heritage, etc.). The harsh, but mostly accurate, answer to these views is expressed in one of my favorite sayings: “The only problem in my life is me.” If you are woefully unhappy, that is a difficult thing to say. And yet, it is the most hopeful thing you can say. Of all the things that might be wrong in your life, the one over which you actually have control is you. This seemingly offensive phrase is one of the most empowering you will ever hear.
“Once we are willing to accept that the root cause of our problems lies within us, we can accept that there is a way for us to change our lives. This is not Bill Murray saying in What About Bob: “I am taking a vacation from my problems.” Rather, this is a courageous decision to fix your problems solely by fixing things about yourself that can be changed. (And, when you get down to it, nearly all of the things that lead to happiness or sadness in our lives can be changed.)
“In the book, The 3 Gaps, there are three stories of people with problems that should have caused them to live unhappy and unfulfilled lives. As you read how they avoided that fate, you will realize that it is difficult to describe our own problems as more difficult to overcome than theirs. These people inspire me. They help me know that I can find greater happiness by dealing with my own values and beliefs than by complaining about things I cannot change.”
Hyrum Smith is a distinguished author, speaker, and businessman. He is the co-founder and former CEO of FranklinCovey®. For three decades, he has empowered people to effectively govern their personal and professional lives. Hyrum’s books and presentations have been acclaimed by American and international audiences. He combines wit and enthusiasm with a gift for communicating compelling principles that incite lasting personal change. You can visit him on the web at www.3gaps.com.