33voices interviews David Maxfield
David Maxfield: Change Anything
It’s what we call “the willpower trap”. We all feel that we have a lot of personal agency; that our motivational
loan, that we can gut it out, and we are overly optimistic as to how powerful our own willpower really is. You need willpower,
that’s the spark plug that gets you started, but it turns out that we live in a sea of influences. There are influences all around
us that are shaping our behavior; in fact, you could say that our world is perfectly created to get us the behavior that we are currently acting on. Yet, we are blind to it; it’s like that old adage that ‘fish discover water last’ – so, we’re surrounded by influences that we don’t even see. If we can take off those blinders and see the influences that are all around us, we can control them. And once we can control them and bring them to our side, pulling for us, instead of pulling against us, that’s when we become 10x more successful.
What’s the single biggest barrier to change?
David: Let me share what used to be my intuitive model of change that has been proven wrong – if you want to get someone
to change; you have to get their attention. You need a good wake up call. Can you think of a better wake up call than a heart attack? Second, once you get their attention, you need to convince them that the consequences of not changing are severe; like you’re going to die. Third, you need to give people a clear road map to follow; like how to diet, what medications to take, how to exercise, etc. Think of the heart example – you get their attention. Convince them the consequences that they’re going to die if they don’t change, and third, you give them a clear road map to follow; and that’s not enough. The reason that its not enough, is because they get caught in ‘the willpower trap’. They think that all they need to do is desire to change, and the change will just flow naturally from there. But it doesn’t because they’re surrounded by influences; personal, social and structural that hold them in place like gravity.