Standing out sometimes means standing alone. However, standing out is what’s necessary to influence the world in positive directions. Many people talk about making a difference, yet few are willing to take action. But why? Overcoming resistance to thinking differently, otherwise known as cognitive dissonance, is the key to producing the real change we want in our lives. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort we feel when we experience something that’s outside our comfort zone. Dissonance often causes us to laugh, sneer, ignore and make disrespectful comments. These responses both prevent change and hurt those who decide to make a conscious decision to think differently. Cognitive dissonance stifles innovation and breeds complacency. So, how can we learn how to be more open to change?
I’d like to suggest three ways to counteract cognitive dissonance:
(1) Give Our Ego a Reality Check: ego is not only the death of creativity, but it’s the unnecessary focus on the self.
(2) Learn to be Authentic with Ourselves and Others: Brene Brown’s Ted talk on authenticity explains this point well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0
(3) Have no Fear: Do something that’s outside your comfort zone every day. Tackling fears and pushing through difficulty every day is the key to personal success. Make mistakes (lots of them) and use failures as platforms to achieve higher goals.
Tony Robbins takes these words to the next level: the power of choice. Successful individuals conquer their fears and consciously choose to live differently. The key to happiness is having dreams and the key to success is making those dreams come true. So, have no fear. Make choice, take a chance and stick with it. There’s no perfect time to start changing. Follow your dreams and live deliberately.
Dr. John Hofmann