Many educated, intelligent experts will tell you that people don’t change, and they have good research to back it up. If you press them, they’ll admit to maybe one in a hundred, one in a thousand, even. The field of addiction is a similar story. Experts will just about unanimously repeat the old adage, “once an addict, always an addict.” Just about all the major addictions have a high 90s recidivism (or relapse) rate. Psychologists, life-coaches, and ministers will all tell you, with good reason, that people rarely change negative habits in the long-term.
M. Scott Peck, MD, author of The Road Less Traveled, gives his take on why this happens outside of the physical component. To make any significant change, you tend to go through a period of chaos. Chaos means pain, and when people hit that period of pain, they tend to turn back.
There are a couple of fascinating and consistent exceptions to these rules: near-death experiences, and the phenomenon of hitting rock-bottom. I once wrote a thesis on near-death experiences after a tragic event in my own life. After extensive research and interviewing a number of people personally, I found that virtually 100 percent of the time, near-death experiences dramatically change people for the positive, and usually for the rest of their lives. Positive near-death experiences outnumber negative ones by something like nine to one. You’ve probably heard those types of stories: going into the light, feeling unconditional love and total peace. But a small percentage of the time, it will be nightmarish, full of pain and extreme terror. The interesting thing is that even the negative experiences positively change the person for life. My interpretation is that the near-death experience provides an overwhelmingly powerful new memory, and the net effect is that it changes your programming.
On the other hand, hitting rock-bottom is almost always a negative experience at the time, but usually creates lifelong positive change in the long-term. On hitting rock-bottom, many people will describe as being just as bad, if not worse than death. And there lies the key. All fear is ultimately a fear of death, so to experience something that’s worse than death and live through it often takes the fear of death away. I believe that for many people, as long as they’re protecting their life, they in large measure lost it. When they quit protecting it out of fear, they are able to really live.
The common thread between the two phenomenon is a new memory so powerful that it permanently changes your internal state, allowing you to do things that you never could before, and may never have been able to do. But of course, that’s not an opportunity that comes around too often.
Years ago, I developed a process called Reverse Trauma, in the hope of safely creating the effect of a near-death or rock-bottom experience. And over the years I’ve found it to be very powerful, enabling many of my clients to make permanent changes without actually coming close to death. The program is on the All Access platform now, so if you feel the need to make bold, daring changes in your life, check it out.
Have a blessed, wonderful holiday!