innocence, resistance, and responsibility – 3 ways of relating to change

Behavioral Economics: How to Make the Right Bu...

Behavioral Economics: How to Make the Right Buying Decisions (Photo credit: BankSimple)

Have you been surprised in recent years at changing patterns of economic behavior that have influenced your business and finances? If you were surprised, then how well did you really know the market for your business?

Have you been merely curious about what is changing or confused and anxious? Have you been frustrated and bitter- not just disappointed and humble- but even resistant and resentful?

Many people may dismiss or even ridicule information that frightens them. It may be rare for someone to have the courage to face (or even to proactively seek) information that might lead them to change their thinking and behavior to promote their well-being.

What I just said may seem a little strange. People may resist being attentive to their well-being. People may be attentive to conforming to a familiar group instead of being attentive to what actually works well for them personally. In other words, they may value familiarity over functionality and prosperity.

So, if you thought you knew your market well, but soon you were surprised by what actually happened (which was different from your thoughts and presumptions), then you may have been confused. Confusion is quite distinct from mere ignorance. Confusion means that a presumption has been made which is false, but there is still a confusion or lack of recognition about which presumption is the false one. There has been a confusing of one thing for another, a mistaking of one thing for another.

Once the false presumption is recognized as false, confusion ends. Clarity and openness lead naturally to curiosity.

I just presented three ways of relating to change. First is innocence: a change is new and curious- a new opportunity to learn. Second is resistance: change is unfamiliar and troubling and shameful- something to resist and avoid and deny and ridicule. Third is responsibility: change is constant and eventually some change will probably be confusing, but confusion is just an indicator of a mistaken presumption and the responsible person knows that it is functional to admit ignorance with an interest in correcting any inaccurate presumptions. Confusion is not shameful. Admitting confusion and ignorance is an important step in maturing in to courage and responsibility.


J.R. to Rob Godwin: “[Would you] write me a brief testimonial indicating a spontaneous recollection of what you recall me saying when- even if vague?”

Rob: “I just remember the last time we hung out, at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Glendale, and you suggested that I not buy a house, because it was a bubble that was going to burst soon. That was probably mid 2004, and it did peak about 1.5 years later….

I remember thinking at the time, that things were going so well here, how could they stop? I bet a lot of people who lived through the Roaring’ 20’s thought the same thing, LOL. I think the 90’s and early 00’s were like that, where everyone kept saying that things were different, that the old economic models didn’t apply, that they’d been figured out by “experts”. But things did crash just the same, so I guess we weren’t immune to it afterall. I guess the larger the peak, the deeper the recession.”

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