The Four Pillars Of Lasting Change
How to change your company, your team and get the life you want
Every time has its trends. In the 1980s it was the Walkman, roller-skates and the epic hymns of Bon Jovi. In the 1990s there was the Tamagotschi, soccer players wore a haircut named Mullet and techno was played on the dance floors around the world. And today there is a Zeitgeist, which I have observed in an almost inflationary manner in the past few weeks. No matter what book I open, which Facebook post I read or which expert opinion I listen to, I keep hearing the same message.
The modern lie: Please, don’t follow your heart!
Summarized in my own words, it goes something like this: “In order to be successful and lead a happy life, it is necessary to stop thinking and (finally) listen to your heart.“ Most of the time the famous quote from the book Little Prince by de Saint-Exupéry is added, in order to give more emphasis to the message. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.“ And the reaction to this thesis is usually one and the same. Like Pavlov’s dogs, the people cheer with the rest of the masses and are happy that someone is finally saying what they´ve suspected for so long: All that counts is your heart, the rest really does not matter.
The devil is in the details. Because at first glance this statement sounds enticingly logic. “Listen to your heart and everything will be fine.“ And there´s a lot of truth to it. But, unfortunately, there’s a lot of untruth as well. Of course, we find our motivation in our hearts; what is truly important to us makes us get up every morning. However, this draws some wrong conclusions, namely that, once you listen to your heart, you can completely disregard your mind.
Without your mind, the best decision of the heart is worth nothing
You can observe the results of this deception daily, most likely in your own environment as well. Some throw away their jobs as bankers, tax specialists or electricians from one day to the next because their heart tells them that they should finally follow their calling. What this looks like exactly they don´t really know yet, but at least their boring job isn´t restricting them any longer, and they can express their personality (most of the time in some activity in the helping industry, because then you don´t have to look after yourself). Suddenly, they are a life coach, owner of a nail salon or organizer of motivational seminars for pet owners—of course, without any kind of commercial knowledge, a concrete business plan or realistic consideration of the market opportunities.
But just as fast as the fire of desire was lit, a very hard realization happens. It might be quite nice to do something you wholeheartedly enjoy, but if it doesn´t pay your bills and it´s putting you in a financial bind, the romance that was so strong before fades quickly. And this relates to one thing. Without your mind, the best decision of the heart is worth nothing. If other people find no use in your personal passion, you won´t earn any money. And if you don´t generate any income then it might be a nice hobby, but not a profession.
This is why I would like to encourage you at this point never to forget to use your mind when it comes to the decisions in your life. Yes, I´m even going to go a bit further and would like to express a declaration of love to the human mind. It is the most precious gift that we have. Our mind lets us balance chances and risks. It lets us critically question things and draw our own conclusions. It lets us develop ideas and create inventions. It lets us decide and act. And the more we use our mind, the better our decisions and results will be.
The perfect combination: Heart AND Mind
So should we start listening only to our minds from now on? No, quite the opposite. Because as the Yin is nothing without the Yang, the mind and heart need one another. Only when they work together are people able to develop their full potential and become a unique person. Only the combination of heart and mind makes it possible for you to become the best version of yourself, step by step. No matter what it is you want to achieve, the heart is always the motor. It reliably tells you when it is time for a change. It shows you when something is wrong. It is the deciding driving force to get moving. And your mind ensures that you walk down your chosen path the best possible way you can; that you don´t walk through life with your rose-colored glasses, but also don´t meet trouble halfway; that you don´t ignore potential problems, but still focus on the chances that present themselves.
The mantra of a changemaker
Let us get specific now. How do you imagine your future? Which dreams do you have; what would you like to achieve; where would you like to be in two years? What, you haven´t really thought about that? Until now you´ve taken everything as it came? Then it is definitely time for a change because one thing is for certain. The next years are definitely going to arrive. The only question is will you leave the course of time and especially its results up to chance, or will you be self-determined and actively create your success, your luck and your satisfaction? The second alternative is, without a doubt, the one that will promise much better results, because, as Bob Dylan sang in 1964, “The times, they are a-changing.“ So, whenever you try out this can-do attitude in practice in the near future, I want you to remember the following mantra: “Listen to your heart. But don´t forget about your mind!“
The four pillars of lasting change
Nothing is as powerful as the combination of a rational analysis and emotionally-driven actions. Logic lets you understand and emotions let you take action. In conclusion, it´s always about integrating the desired changes into your daily life over the long term. This is why I would like to introduce you to the four most important pillars of lasting change. They are the foundation, the basis and the topsoil, where your future success will grow. Take as much time as you need for each step because, at the end of the day, an expert is always a person who has mastered the fundamentals and can reiterate the basics in his sleep.
These are the four pillars of lasting change:
1st pillar: A conscious „Oh yeah“ to change
2nd pillar: An irrevocable decision
3rd pillar: A clear goal
4th pillar: A strong habit
These four pillars build the foundation for a successful transformation from vague ideas to specific results. They make sure that you not only start highly motivated, but also reach the finish line.
In this series of four articles, I’d like to introduce you to each of these four pillars.
So stay tuned and talk soon!