Change is something that is happening all the time, all around us without us making any effort at all. We grow older without making an effort, we grow from children to adults without effort, our houses grow messy, without effort, our gardens grow untidy, without effort.
Change is natural and a part of all of our lives and is effortless. However, progress is something completely different.
Notice the difference in these two words, change and progress. This distinction between the two is very important, so what is different about them to you?
To me change is effortless and natural and doesn’t necessarily indicate that things will get better. Change is almost random and undirected, meaning change may not necessarily get you closer to your goals.
Progress though is different. It is directed change where you make changes to head towards a desired goal or target. It is consciously controlled and directed and part of a plan
Progress through change is usually accidental rather than deliberate, with the change just happening to be in alignment with your goal.
You want to change parts of your life, as do I, but you want to make progress in your life rather than just change.
Unfortunately for us all, making progress requires effort. Your house doesn’t magically clean itself. To make progress in keeping it tidy requires effort. Keeping your garden tidy requires effort. Your garden is changing all the time as everything grows, but to make progress in keeping it tidy requires effort on your part.
These subtle nuances of language actually make a massive impact on a sub-conscious level because words have meaning on a sub-conscious level that we don’t even think about.
When you use words your sub-conscious mind pays attention to the connotations (implied meanings) of the words whereas your conscious mind listens to the denotations (defined / dictionary meanings) of the words.
These can cause some conflict because the connotation and denotation of a word can be completely different.
When you talk about making changes, it implies struggle, hardship and it’s going to be difficult. By comparison, when you talk about making progress it feels much lighter, easier and less of a struggle. Just try saying to yourself, “I want to change my life” and “I want to make progress in my life” and see how different the two statements feel to you, even though they seem to be virtually identical.
Isn’t it odd how two words that are fundamentally the same thing can have such different feelings associated with them?
You don’t want to change your life, because that implies making random changes in the hope that one of them will be one you actually want.
What you really want to do is MAKE PROGRESS in your life, because this way you are directing your efforts towards a greater plan.
Action Point: Think about the progress you want to make in your life and notice how differently you feel when you think about changes and making progress. Start to talk about making progress rather than just making changes and notice the difference.
If you are feeling up to it this week, look at your language patterns and see how many conflicts are caused by differences between implied and defined meanings. Make a note of them and drop me a line with any you want to share, I’d love to hear from you!