The Sticky Place

Posted on December 5, 2023

I’m a believer in you.

Take that seriously. There’s no doubt in my mind that you have the potential for breakthrough gains in achievement. I believe your big dreams are yours for the taking.

But here’s the thing: You have to make it happen. More importantly, you must allow it to happen. And that means you’ll need to change.

This is where it gets sticky.

Changing your thinking and behavior can be surprisingly tough. We’re all very set in our ways, and more so than we realize. Your biggest challenge won’t be achievement of some daring and dazzling goal, it will be overcoming your own resistance to pursuing it. Trust me on this.

Resistance is a sneaky psychological dynamic. It seeks to stabilize your life, to keep you safe, comfortable, and consistent. But it can become your worst enemy when you try to change. Resistance tells your habits to fight back and defend the status quo. It’s like your psychological immune system kicks into gear, sending resistance antibodies to attack the change and kill it. That friction doesn’t feel good. It creates a disincentive to stick with your program and can cause you to ditch your goals.

This problem is highly predictable. When you begin pursuit of an epic goal, a primal alarm goes off deep inside your brain. Without any conscious effort on your part, this basic survival instinct warns you to be careful. As playwright and poet John Dryden said, “Self-defense is Nature’s oldest law.” This natural impulse that’s hardwired in your brain starts scanning for danger. It focuses solely on the negative, on potential disadvantages and reasons not to change.

You can easily become preoccupied with evidence that reinforces resistance while ignoring awesome possibilities. This demotivates, creates self-doubt, and distracts you from seeing the positive aspects of change.

It's also possible, even likely, that some people in your social orbit will oppose the changes you need to make in your thinking and behavior. In fact, the people who are closest to you may resist the most. They might be well intentioned and want to protect you from harm, or their resistance might be a selfish act. Doesn’t matter, either way they make it more difficult for you to stay the course.

Ironically, resistance is actually a good sign.

This pushback by your inner self, or by other people, suggests that you’re making progress. You’re stretching your thinking and behavior patterns, practicing new moves in order to reach your goals.

So don’t misconstrue what’s going on. You should be feeling some discomfort from resistance, otherwise you’re probably not making much headway at changing.


Price Pritchett is one of the foremost experts on fast-growth strategies and breakthrough performance. His firm—PRITCHETT, LP—is recognized worldwide for its thought leadership on mergers, corporate culture, change management, and accelerated achievement. These writings define the behaviors and individual mindset underlying fast growth and innovation.


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