Is Resistance Putting You At Risk For Screwing Up Your Dream?

christina aguilera muffing the words to the "Star Spangled Banner

By the time this post is published, the Internet and news sources will be abuzz with comments about Chrstina Aguilera messing up the words to the “Star Spangled Banner” at the SuperBowl.

She replaced “o’er the ramparts we watched” with “what so proudly we watched,” which I barely noticed because I figured I don’t remember the words that well, but noticed something was amiss. As a mother of a uber, sports-playing son, I have been forced to sing that song more times than I’ve had to tell said teenage son to pick up his wet towels from the bathroom floor.

I tell my him to pick up his towels every day. . .

Aguilera’s fumble to one of the hardest songs to sing since One Week by Barenaked Ladies forced me to ponder how often we blow our chances to move our dreams forward. As I witnessed her momentary blunder hit the Internet, I was more aware than ever that our actions can sure mess up our dreams.

I mean, come on – mess up the National Anthem in Texas? That’s like admiring a cowboy’s horse and calling it dog food.

It’s a stark reminder that preparation is important when you have to deliver on your dreams. I wondered if she had resisted practicing the song as many times as she should have before the Super bowl.

Resistance.

I write web content for a living. There are cardinal rules to having successful web content, rules for blog and page headlines, rules for design and rules for engagement. Follow the rules and you can achieve success on the web, deviate from the rules and no one will visit your website.

For this reason I am always studying Internet marketing and the rules of good copywriting. I live and breathe the rules. Sometimes I find myself correcting my son’s English papers so his titles sound more catchy, to which I hear, “Mom! We can’t do it like that! Stop it!” Oops.

When I share these rules with the clients who will benefit the most from them, they will push against their possible web success by reverting back to the way they’ve “always done it before”. Even if that “before” has driven them to paying for a website that does nothing for their business — and their phones stopped ringing months ago.

Fear.

Let’s face it. We have tendency to like what we like, even if what we like is terrible for us. We stick with our wants and beliefs while screwing up our dreams — and we pretend what is going wrong with our dreams isn’t happening at all.

No, I intended to mess up the words to the anthem to make it stand out . . .

I think we are a high risk for never seeing our dreams come true if we aren’t willing to take a good hard look at our tendency to resist beneficial change; our inability to listen to professionals; and our unwillingness to set our egos aside, and be open to try something new.

The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.

Nearly 2/3 of all major changes in companies fail. Fortune 500 executives say that resistance is the primary reason these changes fail, and resistance – not a lack of technical skills or resources – is the main reason why projects fail.

People who resist change don’t see that they are resisting — they think they are surviving.

How do you know if you are a person at risk for resisting change and screwing up your dream? Well, guess what? There’s a test for that.

A Test For Change Resisters

This test was created by Dr. Shaul Oreg, who specializes in resistance to change, individual differences, personal values,and  scale development.

Answer the following questions with the number that correlates with your answer:

Strongly disagree (1) Disagree (2) Inclined to disagree (3)
Inclined to agree (4) Agree (5) Strongly agree (6)

1. I generally consider changes to be a negative thing.
2. I’ll take a routine day over a day full of unexpected events any time.
3. I like to do the same old things rather than try new and different ones.
4. Whenever my life forms a stable routine, I look for ways to change it.
5. I’d rather be bored than surprised.
6. If I were to be informed that there’s going to be a significant change regarding the way things are done at school, I would probably feel stressed.
7. When I am informed of a change of plans, I tense up a bit.
8. When things don’t go according to plans, it stresses me out.
9. If a co-worker changed a project criteria, it would probably make me feel uncomfortable even if I thought I’d be fine without having to do any extra work.
10. Changing plans seems like a real hassle to me.
11. Often, I feel a bit uncomfortable even about changes that may potentially improve my life.
12. When someone pressures me to change something, I tend to resist it even if I think the change may ultimately benefit me.
13.. I sometimes find myself avoiding changes that I know will be good for me.
14. I often change my mind.
15. I don’t change my mind easily.
16. Once I’ve come to a conclusion, I’m not likely to change my mind.
17. My views are very consistent over time.

Add up your score.

If you scored 51 or less you have the least trouble beneficial change and tend to see change as something that helps you get ahead in life. You are probably someone who has experienced success. If you scored between 52 – 102 you tend to resist beneficial change. If you scored between 85 – 102 you have a real problem with beneficial change, and this is probably getting in the way of achieving your dreams (and your life).

If you answered 6 to statements 16 and 17, you have the greatest emotional resistance to positive change.

4 emotional signs you are resisting beneficial change –

  • You find comfort in routine
  • You have a strong emotional reaction to imposed change
  • You becoming irritable at implementing change
  • You show stubbornness in changing your mind

The more these 4 signs are true of you, then you should look at where your life is not working.

And Christina? I doubt her career will be in jeopardy for messing up the words to Texas’ most beloved song, but she did blow the opportunity to create an amazing rendition of the National Anthem. What if you aren’t Chrstina Aguilera? What if that was your big dream moment?

Would you blow it because you resisted practicing as much as you should have because you resisted listening to your producer? Would you have resisted people trying to help you?

When has resistance messed with your dream life?

Was it worth it?

Catherine

Catherine HughesCatherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in when needed.

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Catherine Hughes, Be an Online Success

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed.
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  • Ken Neller

    As long as there are humans, we will be screwing up our lives.

  • Katie

    Great post! I always look forward to your Sunday nights.

  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    G R E A T post, Cath. I will be taking the assessment and i’ll let ya know. I”ve never considered myself stuck and unable to change thru resistance, but I could be tricking myself …..dang it! xoxo Rem

    • I also read that in order for any personal change to happen, there are 6 essential elements that must be present –

      1. Awareness
      2. Having the necessary resources of time, money and effort
      3. Facilitating structures (support)
      4. Dissatisfaction with the present situation
      5. A vision of what is possible/different in the future
      6. The first steps to begin change must be clear and achievable

      Cath

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