leadership dot #2393: chameleon

It is amazing how quickly we can become accustomed to something. Sleeping in a different bed for a week over the holidays made my own bed feel different when I returned to it. A few days of driving a rental car became the norm instead of the vehicle that I have driven for 40,000 miles. The temperature in my brother’s home that initially felt warm, suddenly made my house feel chilly even though my thermostat did not change.

The mind is a mental chameleon. In the span of less than a week, and without any intentional effort on my part, my psyche adapted to the environment around it and accepted it all like the new reality.

If our minds are so malleable, how can you find a way to use this trait to your advantage. The first morning the alarm goes off an hour earlier will be painful, but after a few days of adjustment, you’ll be in a routine of having that extra time for reading or exercise. You may miss the first automatic withdrawal into your savings account, but soon your new net pay will seem to be the standard. You may feel hungry when you first reduce your portions and eat from a smaller plate but before long restaurant-sized portions will feel excessive.

You become used to what you are used to – for good or bad. Endure a brief period of sacrifice to make your surroundings work for you and soon you won’t even realize you gave anything up to achieve those benefits.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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