“All changes are created in a moment – it’s just that most of us wait until certain things happen before we finally decide to make a shift.” — Tony Robbins
Today, I ran across a post where someone was asking how they could let their good friend know that he talked way too long and went into too much detail, which led to people becoming bored with him. Of course, beyond saying “be gentle,” there’s not a lot to telling a person about an issue like that.
The real question is, “Will they listen to you and do anything about it?” What determines that is whether they are ready to change or not. Maybe they are. Maybe her friend has been scratching his head going, “I have trouble connecting with people. What am I doing wrong?” and her telling him will be a “eureka” moment for him. “Oh, that’s what it is!”
Usually, that doesn’t happen and the reason it doesn’t happen is that people are usually the way they are for a reason. It may have to do with their childhood, some incorrect way they perceive the world, part of their self-image or it could just be a habit. They’ve been that way for 20 years and it’s hard to change.
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You’re not going to say some magic phrase that’s going to break through all of that unless they are ready to hear it. If they hear it from a coach, therapist, boss, someone they respect and admire, or maybe they’ve been searching for those answers, then yes, you might get through to them. Just about your only other chance if they’re not ready to hear from you is if there’s a powerful emotional component. This is why interventions can work. All those strong feelings in the room might crack their facade and allow them to really consider what you’re saying. It’s also why someone can get a bad medical diagnosis and suddenly, they’re able to make these massive lifestyle shifts. It’s because they feel that terrible emotional urgency.
This is why it’s futile to plan to change someone. Maybe they’ll listen or maybe they won’t, but it’s out of your control.