What else should I call it? OK, maybe it will be a ‘lifestyle change’, but really, …. it’s the Rider vs the Elephant. Read this summary from Quora (about the book Switch): (CLICK ME!) or I pasted it below. Anyway, I need to eat more protein without increasing calories. I am way under whats considered healthy on the protein front. So…. for now, it’s the Rider.
“Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. But the Rider’s control is precarious because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant. Anytime the six-ton Elephant and the Rider disagree about which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.” You need to create a path that makes it easier to be successful.
“Most of us are all too familiar with situations in which our Elephant overpowers our Rider. You’ve experienced this if you’ve ever slept in, overeaten, dialed up your ex at midnight, procrastinated, tried to quit smoking and failed, skipped the gym, gotten angry and said something you regretted, abandoned your Spanish or piano lessons, refused to speak up in a meeting because you were scared, and so on.”
The key to effective change is getting the Elephant and the Rider moving together. Dan and Chip write:
“Changes often fail because the Rider simply can’t keep the Elephant on the road long enough to reach the destination. The Elephant’s hunger for instant gratification is the opposite of the Rider’s strength, which is the ability to think long-term, to plan, to think beyond the moment (all those things that your pet can’t do.) … To make progress toward a goal, whether it’s noble or crass, requires the energy and drive of the Elephant. And this strength is the mirror image of the Rider’s great weakness: spinning his wheels. The Rider tends to overanalyze and over think things. … A reluctant Elephant and a wheel-spinning Rider can both ensure nothing changes. But when Elephants and Riders move together, change can come easily.”
They then introduce 3 surprises which can be helpful in framing messages:
- What looks like resistance is often lack of clarity. Don’t say eat healthier. Say eat more dark leafy greens.
- What looks like laziness is often exhaustion. Change is hard…acknowledge it.
- What looks like a people problem is often a situational problem. Make sure to think about their environment and support system.
Both books make for insightful reading and Switch also adds the element of being a “how to” book for change.