What do Vision and Intolerable Pain have in common?

Everyone wants to change something about their life. Unfortunately not everyone gets around to actually doing it. It could be a physical change like losing weight; it could be finally getting the courage to ask somebody out; or it could be more drastic such as a career change. Whatever it is, there is a certain inertia that we have to overcome before we make any kind of change in our lives.

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By nature, we have a sort of love-hate relationship with change. We want to change, but we don’t want to go through the trouble to get the change that we want.

People are inspired to make changes because of one of two things: Intolerable Pain or Vision.

Intolerable pain is, by definition, discomfort that has escalated to the point that we cannot tolerate. The opposite, tolerable pain, is some discomfort that we just ignore or sometimes even convince ourselves that we simply must endure. Take the case of a poor communication in a marriage. The husband and wife always argue. Eventually they grow tired of arguing, but instead of resolving their issues, they start to communicate less and less. Little by little, they grow apart. They know what’s happening, but they don’t want to “rock the boat” and start the arguments again. They tolerate the problem.

Unfortunately, at some point, some big issue will happen, say an affair, that will force them to confront each other. Since they didn’t learn how to resolve the smaller issues, they won’t know how to resolve this larger one. Eventually, the pain becomes intolerable. So they choose to split up, leaving so many casualties in the process.

A simpler example could be someone who loves junk food. He doesn’t want to change his lifestyle and eat more healthy foods. He chooses to ignore the small pains of getting fat and unhealthy. Eventually, he gets diagnosed with hypertension and is forced into a strict diet by the doctor.

Obviously, I’m trying to paint a bad picture of not addressing tolerable pain.

Vision

We should never wait for the pain to get so serious as to become intolerable. The key to doing this is to develop a Vision. For every tolerable discomfort, actually for everything in your life, you should be able to envision what the ideal situation would be.

Personally, I made a drastic change in my eating habits and exercise. I wrote down the physical fitness that I want to develop:

I am able to run and swim long distances. I am able to carry my pregnant wife out of a burning building 😉

For my relationship with my wife I wrote:

I am able to help her grow in her passions and excel in what she enjoys doing. She comes to me to help her accomplish her goals and purpose in life. We share our hearts with each other on a regular basis.

It’s different for everyone

What I want could be very different from what you want. It’s important to take the time to see what things in your life you are tolerating, and what things you are really running for. To help you with forming your vision, I’ve prepared a list of the different areas that you might want to include.

question for comments: What are the things that you ignore and would like to see change in?

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