Why Resistance to Change is Painful

We are not philosophers but like you – very practical folks. Half our job is
holding workshops for executives at major corporations to train them in two-
days to 3x their learning skills and 2x their long-term memory.

What that means is these up-and-coming divisional VPs and heads of departments
can read-and-remember three (3) books, articles and reports in the time their peers
can hardly finish one. Are these new skills beneficial for soon-to-be corporate
top guns?

Companies seem to think so – they pay up to $15,000 for the SpeedLearning live
training classes, and give up their executive services for two-full days.


The thirty executives sitting in front of us hate being there. They would rather be
back at their desks working on their own projects. Yes, they volunteered for the
workshop, with its two-days off from regular work, but it was because they were
told by Human Resources it would enhance their opportunity for promotion.

Oh yeah, the company CEO sponsors our learning program and is following
their progress. They have good reasons to want to shine, right? So why were the 30
workshop attendees acting like noisy, twitchy kids in high school?

They wanted the world to know they did not want to be in class and were not going
to learn this new, stupid stuff.


Before we could teach these folks how to tripling their learning skills and double
their memory, we had to overcome their typical executive resistance to change.

Five Reasons We All Hate Change

1. We all believe the cliché` - “Don’t fix what aint broken!” If the
participants were not quick learners with great memories; they would never have gotten this far in their careers, right?
Therefore – “don’t try to fix (change) me.”

2. We all believe the whopper – “Past experience is a guarantee
of future results.”

Even though the U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires all brokers and option specialists to place a disclaimer on their reports – “Past Experience is NOT a guarantee of future results” – intelligent, successful folks still believe it to be a fact.

No? Why do sports franchises pay millions to veterans and not
rookies? How about hiring a new CEO – do we go to Harvard
Business School or want a tried-and-true winner who has proven his mettle?

When you need a surgeon – do you want a new med school grad or a guy who did a thousand of your operations?

3. We respect Science and it is a principle of scientific knowledge - “repetition is the mother of learning”. We get hardwired through repetition and build ‘neural networks’ (circuitry) in our brains.

4. We may not be able to locate it anatomically, but we know
when other folks try to invade our comfort-zone. Don’t we all
get defensive and resistant about what feels wrong?

5. In the past we (the class) have been rewarded consistently by
schools with high-grades and diplomas, and in our career by
promotions, money and bonuses, for our learning skills and
memory? The scientific word is “reinforcement”.

What Works

So you see, before we can teach them anything new, we must allay their fears about
change. Secret: only 20% of Homo sapiens do NOT fear and resist change – but 100% percent of us resist being changed by others. Why? Parents-Teachers-Significant-Others-and Career-Mentors like to push around our fragile egos. We react with a big sign reading, “Don’t tread on me!”

We are willing to change (improve) only when what we VALUE is threatened.
Huh? If you intimate we are incompetent and cannot learn new stuff – you are calling us stupid. That’s a threat to our hard-won identity. We stop resisting.

If you are a women executive and are told: “scientifically, women have more cognitive skills than men, and learn faster,” you may choose to learn to prove them right.

What if you hear that only folks with ‘high IQs’ can learn SpeedLearning 101? Your reputation for being quick-witted and in the zone is on the line; we start learning.

Where is Change Happening

Humans think and act the way we do because we have been conditioned, programmed and reinforced by our parents (“say Please and Thank You!”),
teachers (“stand up to speak”) and relationships (“help with the baby, and wash the dishes”). Wait – it aint over. We are conditioned daily by TV, Newspapers, Internet,
and in our careers, by management and our peers. Does it work? It shapes all our behaviors.

a) First, change must occur in our left and right-brains (hemispheres). Both halves work together and must cooperate for change (habits) to become permanent. Examples: losing 10 pounds, extinguish the smoking habit, and becoming a lifelong-learner.

b) Second, change must occur in our reasoning (Broca’s and Wernicke’s Areas of brain), and in our Emotions: amygdala, hippocampus and hypothalamus. New behaviors and decision-making are products of our
thinking and feeling. We need strategies to arousing our attention.

c) Third, change must happen in both consciousness (attention and awareness) and nonconsciousness (subliminal perception and auto-pilot) areas of the brain. Nonconsciousness includes Immune-Nervous-Limbic (emotions) systems, brain stem, basal ganglia, and thalamus & hypothalamus.

consciousness: parietal and frontal lobes and PFC Prefrontal Cortex.

Example: change is viewed as a threat by our brain. Our Sympathetic
Nervous System contains our potent Fight-or-Flight response. It we are
threatened by a snake or have to change our habitual ways of
reading, our mind and body reacts as if our very survival is at stake.

We have a mental scale to evaluate the level of threat (danger). Humans
can override fear-of-change and our resistance to it, but it requires self-
analysis and adding up the benefits and negatives of making change.

Endwords: resistance to change stops us from implementing new positive behaviors
and creative decision-making. When we become aware of our nonconscious
defensiveness, we can start to do something to remedy this false-positive reaction.
Start now.

See ya,

P.S. For a special free – no strings attached speed reading report (we have only 50
printed) contact us immediately. It will triple your learning skills.

copyright © 2010 H. Bernard Wechsler
www.speedlearning.org hbw@speedlearning.org

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's.
Business partner of Evelyn Wood (1907-1995) creator of speed reading,
graduating 2-million, including the White House staffs of four U.S.
Presidents: Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Carter.