I like to collect psychologist jokes. They help me to not take myself too seriously. Here is my favorite psychologist joke. Question: “How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer: “Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change.”
I like the joke because it is so true. I learned a long time ago that I can’t help someone change unless they really want to change. Even with the right motivation, it is hard, but without it, it is impossible.
A new year brings thoughts of change, starting over, and resolutions. We may want to stop some bad habit, or start some new one. We may want to change our job, our house or our relationships. We may want it, but is that enough?
There is a huge difference between wishing or wanting something, and deciding to make it happen. Many people wish for a better job, more education, better health habits or improved relationships, but a smaller number are determined enough or motivated enough to put in the hard work to make it happen.
After all these years, I can still hear my high school football coach asserting that the game would be won by the team that wanted it the most. He was usually right. High school athletic talent is usually fairly evenly distributed, so performance differences can usually be attributed to the player’s motivation and willingness to work.
The research is now fairly well-known that showed that mastery of any task or skill takes about 10,000 hours of practice. That’s a lot of hours. That’s also a lot of dedication, determination and motivation.
I recently heard the following from a business consultant. “If you want to make something happen, you figure out the necessary cost, and then you pay it.” You do what needs to be done. You don’t have to do it all at one time. You will often take baby steps, and sometimes you may not be able to see progress, but with absolute determination and persistence, you will get there.
A student once asked Socrates how to get to Mount Olympus. The question was more spiritual than geographic, since the ancient Greeks believed that Mount Olympus was the home of the gods. Socrates’ response was simple, “Make sure every step you take is in that direction.”
Every step we take either takes us toward or away from our goals. The steps can be small, but if taken in the right direction, they will get us to our goals.
So, in this new year, remember the importance of proper motivation and dedication in the pursuit of your goals. If the goal is good, right and worthwhile, it is worth the effort to make it happen. Change can happen, if you really want it.