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An Exercise in Changing Yourself

by on March 3, 2010

I wanted to share this article which I had read previously on Harvard Business Review’s Blog and found useful. It runs on similar lines of what Kevin suggested in today’s class, to reflect upon ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses.

Even though we feel that we need to change our own behavior times and again, we quickly either push it on the side or forget it all together – after all we are busy all the time. An exercise introduced by a psychologist named Nathaniel Brendon is simple and proved to be effective…

He has a wonderful exercise that helps people isolate the pattern that makes the most sense to change, because it helps people figure out the benefits of change. This is how he helps people decide whether change is worth it: Five to eight people sit around a table, and each person selects one practice to change. One person begins the exercise by saying: “When I get better at…” and completes the sentence by mentioning one benefit that will accompany this change. For example, one person may say: “When I get better at being open to differing opinions, I will hear more great ideas.”

After everyone has had a chance to discuss their specific behavior and the first benefit, the cycle begins again. Now each person mentions a second benefit that may result from changing the same behavior, then a third, continuing usually for six to eight rounds. Finally, participants discuss what they have learned and their reactions to the exercise.

Unfortunately, people do not like changes, or to say so it is a real behavioral problem. Also, some people are unlikely to realize the character trait that they need to change. So doing the exercise in group will really make individuals pin point a behavior they will like most to change.

There were many interesting results of this exercise mentioned on HBR’s blog.

– Nishant


From → Good to Know

  1. deeptishah permalink

    This sounds like a wonderful exercise to me.

    I actually think that people do like changes but the problem is it is difficult to adjust with changes.

    It’s better to concentrate on changing only one behavior. If we pick the right area to change and actually do so, it will almost always influence other aspects of our relationships with people.

  2. Yeah, I found that trying to change one thing at a time is very effective. Being able to accomplish that first few changes usually will motivate you and help build momentum for further self development.

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