After the Switch: The Inertia of Change

So what happens when we have done all we can to Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant, and Shape the Path?  How do we keep the change we have begun on course and moving forward?

The authors have helpfully devoted the final chapter of the book to doing just that by understanding our human limitations and strengths in a deeper way.

Keep the Switch Going

Change is often a lengthy process which is difficult to maintain, and to maintain the process we must practice consistent reinforcement.  Each step toward the goal should be rewarded and the goal reiterated as the reward is given.  This helps us to overcome our initial behavioral inertia, our understandable reluctance to move out of the comfortable behavioral ruts in which we currently move through our days.

So what will help us continue the change after we have overcome our behavioral inertia by using consistent reinforcement?  Keep in mind the mere-exposure effect (AKA familiarity principle), which is a common feature of the human psyche which values a thing more positively the longer one is more exposed to that thing.   The more we eat healthy food, the more we grow to like it.  The more we exercise, the better we feel when we do it.  The more we follow an effective process in the workplace, the more we appreciate its value.

This, along with natural cognitive dissonance we feel when our actions are at odds with our ideals and the need to reconcile them, will often help to keep change going once it is started.  Like a physical object, a change in motion will naturally remain in motion once it has overcome the inertia acting against its motion.

To take a larger view, we can look at our own growth as human beings from children to adults.   If we can understand the patterns within the process of how we changed from egocentric children to adults who practice mutual sacrificial love, then we can apply those patterns to the rest of our life to drive positive change in all of that life.  Most of us change significantly from the time we are 5 years old to the time we are 25 or 35 years old, and a lot of that change is behavioral as well as physical.

How did that change happen?  Answering that question will help us to  make even more changes in our life and help us to put them in perspective as part of a larger pattern of growth.  We have already made many good changes.  Why not make some more?

It’s time to Switch.

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This entry was posted in Economics, Education, Relationships and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to After the Switch: The Inertia of Change

  1. Pingback: Switch: Shape the Path | Isorropia

  2. Pingback: Fair Questions: How can I be more tolerant of other views? | Isorropia

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