The Right Conversation

So many people long for more in their lives.

Some simply settle. They resign themselves to believe things can’t be any better than they are because of any number of factors, and that’s all there is to it. I want more, but I can’t get it.

Some people aspire to more and actually take steps to become more of what they believe matters. Typically, this involves finding someone who is getting the results they want in their lives. Maybe that is being a better mom or dad. Maybe it is developing at work. Maybe it is shifting an organization. Maybe it is letting go of a past hurt or betrayal.

Whatever it is, many people try to find someone who has what they want for the purpose of finding out what they do. And then they do it. That is good. My wife and I have found many people over the years whom we have wanted to emulate in many facets — some in spiritual life or understanding of the Bible, some in how to be a better parent, and some in finances or leadership.

This is good. I think living models of what we want to become are critical for our success. But there is something here that can be deceptive and have the appearance of wisdom, but will ultimately miss the mark.

Let’s take fitness. Let’s say I want to be fit. I find a trainer or a friend who is a body builder and talk to them about what they do or what they think I should do. I mimic the actions, and the downside is that it has some success. This is called a behavioral model of transition.

But here is the critical piece: It isn’t sustainable to maintain this progress unless I also adopt the mindset driving the decisions my friend is making. What will inevitably happen is that I will stop or slip or not eat right or something, unless I understand the mindset that lets this person be successful at working out and eating right over the long haul.

This is true with parenting. It is also true with leadership, friendship, marriage, and everything else we do. Mimicking others has some value initially, but we must understand and own the mindset driving the actions if we want it to be sustainable.

If we don’t grab the right mindset, then we won’t sustain the right results.