Authentic Change and the Role of Choice

Authentic Change and the Role of Choice

Everywhere you look, in popular magazines and on media websites like the Huffington Post, there seem to be countless articles outlining the five or six essential steps to follow for some type of self-improvement. Americans are fixated on personal growth — becoming more effective in their professions, happier and more tranquil in their private lives, less depressed with higher self-esteem and a more satisfying sex life. The website on which you’re reading this post is devoted to promoting change. We all want to grow and change for the better. In my experience, however, most people change very little over the course of their lives. They tend to become more the way they already are. While there are exceptions, most people find change difficult for several reasons. We all want to think well of ourselves, to begin with. Despite our preoccupation with change and self-improvement, we tend not to acknowledge those parts of ourselves that could actually use improvement. Take another look at those articles that promote change; they promise to teach ways for achieving happiness but usually don’t tell you how to cope with the not-so-nice parts of your character. We’ve all got them and don’t like to admit it. As much as they might long to change, many people tend to explain their difficulties, short-comings and failures by blaming somebody else. Look around you at the people you know. The co-worker who’s careless and lazy but blames her poor evaluations on an exacting boss, or colleagues who have it out for her. The cousin who gets under your skin because in every story he tells, he paints himself...