The Psychology of Change

How fast can you change?

We all know it: Change is slow and painful. Clearly this is the case because we have each struggled for years to change certain things and to no avail.

But that may be the biggest lie of all.

Let me tell you why.

The mind is an information processing unit. We take in information, process the data, and the result is out. What is the output? Emotions and behaviours.

When we struggle with problem such as habits, self-defeating behaviours and emotional patterns, these are symptoms. They are not the problem, they are the result of a hidden problem behind the scenes in the mind. Behaviours and emotions are the output of the mind. They are the natural result of patterns of unconscious processing.

If you battle to change the symptoms, you will fail. It’s that simple. But change the internal processing (or programming) and you will find yourself producing a different result, naturally and automatically.

But what do people do? They struggle over and over to change the symptom. They fight with emotions and behaviours, and the more they persist, the more the emotions and behaviours resist change. It’s like having a leaky pipe and mopping up the water day in and day out… without fixing the pipe. The problem will persist and you will keep trying to clean up the mess!

I call this the Myth of Change, and talk about it here with the example of anxiety.

But we are human so we have to complicate things just a bit more. We fight the symptoms and likely use ineffective methods to change them. The we conclude “I am stuck this way.”

Here we dive into the inner workings of the mind. The mind works in levels – we have layers of beliefs that interact with each other to create our experience of life.

We have an emotional pattern or behaviour we can’t change and what we bring to is the belief “I can’t change this.” It’s like layering and coating the problem. We bring a higher-level belief to it that solidifies it in place. We texture the problem with “This is permanent, this is who I am, I can’t change this.”

What does that do? It is like sending a command to your nervous system saying, “Stay stuck.”

The mind takes experiences and forms conclusions, and we take on beliefs. The mistake we make is to think that our beliefs are true. But if they were true they would be facts, not beliefs. A belief is nothing more than a command to the nervous system.

People who send the signal to their nervous system saying, “I can change whatever I want,” “Change can happen fast” find it much easier to change. For them, change is an enjoyable process of growth and evolution.

The challenge we have as humans is to look at the impact of our beliefs instead of the evidence we find to support them. The effect of each in your life will be drastically different.

David Kynan

David Kynan will get you there with practical cutting-edge methods for change and performance. President of Personis Coaching and Training ( and Former Vice President of the Canadian Association of NLP, David coaches, teaches and consults on how to make change happen when change is hard. He also lends his skills to individuals, professionals and businesses on topics related to strategic intervention, problem solving, marketing and sales. His expertise has landed him training and consulting contracts with companies such as Sun Life Financial, Medisca Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Pure Water Technologies. He has been featured in the Montreal Mirror, interviewed on CTV and presented on his work at the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa.

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