The Slovenia Times

People don't want to change



Why is this so? At first glance, change does not seem like it should be that difficult. If there is something that you do not like about yourself, just change it. But this is a very rational approach, while change is always an emotional process. We all know that smoking and eating unhealthy food is bad for us, but we still do it. Low success rates on everything from New Year's resolutions, stopping smoking, losing weight, starting exercise and having better relationships, confirms that changing ourselves is a massive emotional iceberg. Even if on the surface we decide to turn the page and take a different, new path, our "underwater currents" keep taking us back to the old patterns. The reality is that profound change can be slow, frustrating and painful, filled with struggles, setbacks and disappointment. Whether you want a more positive view of yourself, have a better job, build fulfilling relationships, achieve your professional goals or simply live a happier life, deliberate and conscious change is the most difficult, yet rewarding, thing you will ever do.


Fisher, J. (2012). The Process of Transition. Available at:

A common, yet very dangerous thought is that when we feel unsatisfied, we start to blame others. We try changing our partner, fixing our children, correcting our employees. We want other people to change. We feel like their behaviour is the root cause of our unhappiness. But people don't want to change. Nobody likes to change. We don't want to be changed. We don't want to be convinced that we need to change.

The trick is when you want others to change, you might actually need to change yourself. To put it differently, when we start to blame people around us for our own problems, the problem might be in ourselves. When we start seeing ourselves as victims, when we inflate others faults and our own virtues, we are "in the box", we cannot see, think or feel clearly as our view of reality becomes distorted. We are self-deceiving because this is easier than to find reasons for our problems within ourselves and to fix them. The truth is, we can only change if we cease resisting what is outside "our box" - others. When we cease resisting others as well as stop reinforcing our own views, we are "out of the box" - liberated from self-justifying thoughts and feelings.

The question is can we even change other people? How can we do that? What truly changes people is how we interact with them. We all have our patterns of behaviour. If we consistently invite positive repertoires by behaving well to someone, they might change their usual responses for the better. Again, it all boils down to you. The only thing you can change is how you interact with other people. We should spend more time and effort helping things go right than dealing with things that are going wrong. Unfortunately, these allocations of time and effort are typically reversed. We spend most of our time with others dealing with things that are going wrong. By sending out this message, we are again "in the box" and the vicious circle is complete. If you are loving, caring and warm to someone, eventually even the coldest person will melt.

The same is true for organisations and their employees. We know that changes around us are inevitable, however personal growth of employees is a matter of their choice. Therefore, we cannot force people to change, to develop. The main question on this important, yet very personal topic for any organisation is - why invest in people who don't want to change, who are happy with who they are and where they are? Yet organisations, managers, human resource departments create development plans for them, which is a paradox in itself! There are no right ways to develop the wrong people! If someone wants to change, they will find a way "out of the box", break their self-deception, gather the energy and go the extra mile. When people realise that "the way they have always done things" does not serve them anymore, they are ready for change.

No excuses, just action.

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box (2010). The Arbinger Institute. Oakland, Berret-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
• Mintzberg, H. (2005). Managers, not MBAs. A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development. San Francico, Berret-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
• Sherman, J. E. (2016). Is "You can't change people" true? Psychology today:


More from Nekategorizirano