Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change

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I turn on the radio and everyone’s talking about how they want change.

People want a better economy, but nobody’s willing to share in the financial hit it’ll take to get us back on track.

People want better schools, but nobody wants to rock the system, the unions, the teachers, the role of parents.

People want lower health care costs, but nobody wants to endure the changes to medicine, law and bureaucracy it’ll take to get it.

People want lower insurance, but nobody wants to adopt the changes in lifestyle and behavior that’ll drive it.

People want to be thinner, healthier and happier, but nobody wants to own actions it takes to get there.

People want lower gas prices, but nobody wants to radically shift their consumption patterns.

People want homeless brothers and sisters off the street, as long as it’s N.I.M.B.Y.

Everyone wants to own the result, nobody wants to own the process.

Especially when it involves change or disruption to the patterns around which they’ve grown accustomed.

A really smart entrepreneur once told me Maslow got it wrong.

The fundamental need is not survival, but rather the need to not have to endure change.

I laughed. But, increasingly, I’m finding truth in those words.

I often hear different definitions of leadership.

How about this…

A leader is someone who is willing to own not just the result, but the process.

What do you think?


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114 responses

114 responses to “Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change”

  1. Jonathan, thanks for writing this. It’s something I observe often and haven’t been able to put words to. We all want to be better, but not be responsible for the work it takes to get there. Change is hard, but the only path to improvement…

  2. I think Gandhi said it best when he said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

  3. Farnoosh says:

    No kidding! Wishful thinking only goes so far (as in, not far at all!) It takes work, it takes doing, it takes sacrifice, it takes an appetite for risk, it takes guts, it takes walking the talk. But I do argue that it’s not “nobody” who is not willing to do the work. It’s just not the majority. I have met people who work so hard and live by their principles and if they want change, they work to the bone to get it. But the loud and obnoxious sometimes cover them with their large shadows. We just need to perpetuate the idea of working for what we want. Thanks Jonathan!

  4. I really like this, Jonathan. I’ve come to the view that “people don’t mind change as long as it’s change they’re instigating.” Seems like we buck change the most when it’s happening TO us, not generated BY us. But what I really appreciate here is your link to leadership…leaders instigate AND own (aka take responsibility for enacting) the process. They don’t stir the pot and then stand on the sidelines, yelling and complaining about no one stepping up, or that those who are are doing it wrong.

    Thanks for a great perspective!

    • Lucy Johns says:

      I like Laura Neff’s comment: “Seems like we buck change the most when it’s happening TO us, not generated BY us.” We need leaders who are willing to move toward change, but who also have the talent and savvy to inspire others to follow and get involved in the change themselves.

  5. Joshua says:

    The other part is being willing to own the start of the process. Initiating can be just as hard as the doing.

  6. It’s even about more than owning the process. It’s about taking responsibility for your life. There are very few people who want to sign up for that job.

  7. MikeTek says:

    Sounds good to me. Let me know when you’ve convinced some people. I’ll be happy to donate $5 via PayPal to aid in your campaign.

  8. Hiro Boga says:

    Change is the fundamental nature of reality. We cling so fiercely to what we know, even when it’s painful, that we fail to see that what we think we know is changing right beneath our white-knuckled grip.

    To embrace uncertainty requires a basic trust in the creative process of the universe, and in our own sacred selves.

    It takes understanding and skill to ride the tides.

    If we initiate too many changes at once, the primal brain with its fears of eat or be eaten gets so aroused that it becomes difficult to access feelings of safety, trust or creativity, which allow us to dream a different story and act to bring it into the world.

    So, it helps to attune our inner rhythm and timing to that of the ecology in which we are embedded. This also brings into clear focus the relationship between our choices and their consequences in the world around us.

    When the world’s pain is not separate from my own, when love — with its enormous creative power — moves inside me, the tides of change are no longer out there, but in here…as natural and comforting as the whooshing of the blood in my veins.

  9. Don Faast says:

    Farnoosh is right.
    Instead of “Noone wants change”—it could be “Few want change”.

    We know what you meant, Jonathan….and OH MY GOD is it ever true!

    My career involves working to inspire and create change in people..and the
    yawns—and the resistence I receive are monumental.

    But its exciting when you DO see someone light on fire emotionally
    about the great life that is available to us all!


    Don Faast

  10. Chuck Frey says:

    You see this phenomenon in business all the time. And so it has been for many decades. People have figured out that change tends to hurt. It disrupts my comfortable routine. It forces me to learn new things. It may cause my job to be eliminated or radically altered. The other thing about change is that most people in large corporations have heard their leaders preach about it before. It becomes just another “flavor of the month” that they get all excited about for a few months, and then it fades away – only to be replaced by another “new initiative” that faces a similar lifecycle. After working in such an environment for a few years, people get jaded.

    As a result, it should come as no surprise that change tends to get lip service but little action.

  11. I think there are many who would volunteer to own the change process, but when the problems get too large, no one person can own it. Look what happened with Obama’s healthcare plan. I think he was willing to own it, for better or worse, but the scope of it is simply beyond him.

    If it’s not possible for one person or entity to own the process then, the only way real change becomes possible is when the situation is so dire, larges masses are willing to simultanesly share ownership. I think this is what we saw in the protest in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. There is no one leader, but a large group of people willing to agree on a common method and outcome out of necessity.

  12. I am SO with you! Recently I wrote an article for my own blog about accountability and how easy it is for each of us to whine “Somebody ought to do something!” Meanwhile, forgetting that each of us IS that very same Somebody that we’re waiting to come rescue us.

    Using a gardening metaphor about rooting out the weed called blame in our conversations, I personally suggest using your hands to turn together in your own yard equal parts of responsibility, selfless effort and humility. When we each bring together the products of that effort and moisten it with a shower of kindness, we will be amazed by how fertile our common ground is.

    For me, I believe that change comes from doing something better, each and every one of us. While no one can do everything, everyone can do something. What we plant in the months ahead will ensure a bountiful harvest for our community. It’s amazing what one seed can grow. DL

  13. Ollie says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. People these days want things done but don’t want to take action. I find it appalling that everyone wants to blames someone for their problems and no takes personal responsibility for it. Our nation SERIOUSLY needs to get back in the CAN DO attitude and ask WHAT CAN “I” DO FOR MY NATION, NOT WHAT MY NATION CAN DO FOR ME.

  14. Sylvia says:

    well said

  15. Brandon says:

    At the risk of flirting with a political position, you just nailed the essence of my frustration with a lot of hot button issues in our national dialogue. Many of the issues you brought up are huge societal concerns and they aren’t going away with lofty rhetoric and empty platitudes.

    I am looking for leadership on the big issues that might end up resulting in some leaders having to fall on the sword for the good of society as a whole. In the absence of said leadership, I’m doing what I can in my community to make things better. My hope is to continue to join with others around the world who are doing the same and help inspire a larger shift. I believe it starts with each of us individually living mindfully and sharing openly with others. We have a lot more influence than we think.

    Thanks for the discussion.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hehe. Actually, the thing that got this post rolling was listening to NPR news this morning and that’s all I heard, at least coming from U.S.-based “issues.” I know it’s a lot more complex than this, but fundamentally, this is where we have to start. Sad truth – when it comes to big national issues, the only time posturing usually gives way to a willingness to embrace “real” change is when things go utterly to hell. And even then, as we’ve recently seen, that’s sometimes not enough.

      • Alysson says:

        “…that’s sometimes not enough.” ~ the state of our political discourse is proof enough of that. Scoring political points by any means necessary and feigning religious, moral & ethical superiority have rendered our government all but useless. Cooperation and a commitment to achieve a common goal & working toward a common purpose no longer exist.

        Our two party system only works when there is both contention and cooperation. There was a day when the ideological differences were focused not on what to achieve, but how to achieve it. That’s no longer the case. It has morphed into a class war of the Haves vs. the Have Nots.

        With one party solely focused on protecting & advancing the interests of a privileged minority and the other utterly incapable of standing firm on issues that a vast majority of Americans overwhelmingly support, we end up with the “when things go utterly to hell…” of which you speak.

  16. Phil says:

    Very true. NIMBYism is rampant. Everone wants electricity but no one wants a power station or generating system anywhere near them. Everyone wants the rubbish taken away and don’t care where it goes apart from away.

    We all need to step back and see the bigger picture sometimes. If we all change a little, the cumulative effect will be huge.

  17. Brent Reader says:

    Thank you for this post, Jonathan. This is a truth of which I needed to be reminded today.

  18. dave r. says:

    “the more things change, the more they stay the same”….do things really change? if something is fundamentally right, is it necessary to “goof it up.” change for change sake is silly…you need a plan, a road map but the fundamentals never change…tried and true fundamentals is the basis for anything to work…when you think of different sayings such as “you cant re-invent the wheel” etc…it really comes down to lack of change and more of refining or applying the fundamentals.

  19. Very much a post which reflects the sign of the times. We are in need of so much change yet most are not willing to give up what is needed for change to come. It makes you wonder if we as a society have become so dependent on the unimportant things in life that we can’t let go, even out of necessity for the future.

  20. Andrea Cook says:

    This is well said and daily chatter from my own inner thoughts on how difficult change is to make happen. Just because companies, communities, clients say they want “CHANGE,” it doen’t matter how effective you are as a professional, leader, change agent.

    Change might happen and you might have a chance to make an impact, but the company, community, client has to earnestly seek true change, from the heart, for change to genuinely happen. I liken it to alcoholic. They may want to change, you may try to change them; but they have to make fundamental change themselves for healthy true change to happen.

    The purest and most effective area of change? Self.

  21. Jonathan:

    Great post. I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about process vs. outcome lately, in the context of personal change. It’s much of the focus of Carol Dweck’s work. Her book, Mindset, is a great read – she believes, based on her research, that it all comes down to mindset.

    People with what she calls a “fixed mindset” are outcome oriented. Whether good or bad, the outcome is a reflection on the doer – they think in terms of judging and being judged. They tend to do what comes easily and naturally. They’re fearful of change because it means trying new things, making mistakes, and looking bad along the way. It’s better to say something “can’t” be done than to risk trying – so they think.

    People with a “growth mindset” are the opposite. They’re process oriented. They’re open to trying new things, and they’re O.K. with ineptitude and mistakes, because they see themselves as learning, not failing. They’re so caught up in the process that they don’t take the time to think about how they’re being judged.

    It’s an interesting perspective. I highly recommend the book.

    Great post. Thanks.

  22. Kristi Hines says:

    It probably comes from the whole “the enemy you know” being better than the one you don’t. Change may involve readjusting everything you’ve done to adapt to the situation that needs change, and that is a scary thing.

  23. Dean says:

    “Everyone wants to go to heaven; nobody wants to die” – old country and western song.

    This may even go back to caveman days.

    • Sharon Rosen says:

      Oh yes! And I was just grooving on the simple truth that “A leader is someone who is willing to own not just the result, but the process.” I guess that makes me a leader in some senses, though certainly not everywhere in my life. Still spend an awful lot of time driving distances alone and often quite happily so — and also could change that without too much pain if need be. Makes me wonder where others are in what they lead in and what they aspire to leading, or at least surrendering?

  24. Bronnie says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    In Australia we are currently arguing about the new Carbon Tax. Everybody loves the idea of living in a greener more environmentally friendly country but nobody wants to shift their energy consumption levels. There is a lot of fear driving the protest as people simply do not know how to make the shift.

  25. Amy Oscar says:

    Sometimes, things have to get really bad before we get upset enough to wake up to what is calling to us. For me, the things that I find most infuriating are those where I feel a deep connection – and a sense of guidance, urging me, “Do something about this.”

    I am thinking of a news story I saw, after the Japanese tsunami. A man had gone to work and returned to his village to find his home swept away – along with his wife, his children and his parents. He was out three days after the flood, to find his car. As I watched, tears streaming down my cheeks, I felt frozen with powerlessness. “Do something about this,” my heart ached. “I am thousands of miles away,” my mind answered.

    As you know, from a spiritual perspective, the problems we see ‘out there’ are often mirrors of the issues we carry ‘in here.’ So I decided to make two symbolic gestures. First, I said a prayer, sending out a wave of deep love from the center of my heart. I imagined this as a ray of pink or green light and sent it shooting all the way around the world. An arrow, straight to his heart. I waited to ‘feel’ it arrive. (We can feel this arrival if we let ourselves.)

    Then, I asked: To honor what he has lost, how can I move my own ‘world’ of work, health and relationships in the direction of love?

    That day, the response that arose in response to the question sent me into the kitchen to hug my husband. I called my son, just to talk. I listened to my daughter describe the screenplay she’s writing. I honored the love in my family to honor what the Japanese man has lost.

    This two-step practice is changing my life. Now, I look at the world, choose toward love and take my symbolic – or literal – action. And I am able to participate in the flow of change. Unstuck. Unfrozen. Part of the world.

  26. Elise Foster says:

    Thanks for writing this – I think you are right on, and I see this in many coaching clients as well. It reminds me of the work of Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky – they talk about adaptive vs. technical problems. More specifically, they talk about people tend to apply a technical fix to an adaptive problem (e.g. implementing a performance management process, because the organization doesn’t have the courage or culture to fire non-productive employees; yet, the system creates documentation and no actual change in removing non-productive employees).

  27. MtgPlanner says:

    On a light note: As someone who does a lot of program management, I do see this attitude a lot. I have plenty of people who come to me to voice what could be done better and what else we should be offering. My strategy is to turn this in to a “volunteer” moment. I typically say something like, “That IS a great idea. Would you be willing to head up a task force to look in to how we could develop and implement it?” Of course, it sends them scurrying the other direction – AND FAST!!! Ha!

  28. You hit the nail on the head! My business is currently going through major changes. Although these changes are scary, it’s the best thing for my business in the long term. Change is good even if it’s uncomfortable during the process.

  29. Amen Jonathon… amen.

    Aint that the truth… and no place can it be seen more vividly than in the “health & fitness” arena. I use “quotes” so as to emphasize the “itchyness” of the market.

    The reason people sell so much stuff, so much hope and promise to the same people is that so few are willing to do what it takes to get the results.

    If the people would simply move more and eat less we’d be stronger in every way but the economy would take a hit in few diet related sales.

    Well, at least the ignorance and defiance is helping to drive the economy in some way.

    To Your Strength,

  30. Owen Marcus says:

    I am jealous… I wished I had written what you wrote.

    One reason I am in the change business because I know how hard it is not just for others, but for myself.

    With change comes responsibility – that is what we really avoid. That is what drives the process.

  31. david says:

    Seems to be an accurate synopsis of the epidemic.

    Additionally, it’s not that we are always averse to change, its just that sometimes we don’t want to have to put the work in for it, and we get sold on the idea that it’s possible to have one without the other (or, as you said, to disrupt my pattern). Quick diet pills, for example. A plan for financial success that exclusively includes a lottery ticket.

    We either do nothing, or we take the easy path in the off chance that it might pay off, instead of trudging the hard path, making sacrifices, and trying to effect real, lasting change, all the while complaining about the way things are.

  32. Tara Landes says:

    Ideally, change moves us toward something (a birth if you will) but often requires us to leave something behind (a death). Too often the new way is celebrated without allowing people the natural mourning and regret that change must engender. Recognition that the old wasn’t all bad (at least, not bad for all) is a critical ingredient in convincing people to own the change process.

  33. My teacher and firemen friends hate me lately because I have pointed out the disappointing truth that every one of us, not just the “millionaires and bankers” need to be cognizant of our role in the problematic economy. I totally agree that across the board, personal responsibility will get us all a far bit further than waiting for someone or something to come along to save us.

    Steph Thompson

  34. This really resonated with me. Thanks.

    I am encouraged, though, that more and more people are talking about real, sustainable change – the kind of change that each of us has to commit to and make sacrifices for. This weekend, I’m traveling to Columbus, Ohio for my second attendance at ALIA (Authentic Leadership in Action), a place where an incredible tribe of people gather to talk about leading people toward real change. Being with these people reminds me that there is reason for hope. These are the kinds of leaders you’re talking about, who own the process and not just the results. http://www.aliainstitute.org

    I’d highly recommend a book called “Walk Out Walk On” about several communities around the world who have walked out of broken systems and walked on to the kind of sustainable change you’re talking about. http://www.walkoutwalkon.net/

  35. So true, Jonathan. People complain more than they act because complaining is easy. Acting to bring about change is actually very difficult because you’re guaranteed to fail at least once — that is, whenever you try making a change, you’re bound to screw up a few times on your way to success.

    The other problem is that people feel disempowered. They may *want* to bring about change, but they might not know how to act in order to bring about the change they desire. I think it’s incumbent upon leaders to not only own the process, but also show others the process.

  36. Hi Jonathan.

    Ahh yes, I do think we might need to add a bit more adaptation into Maslow’s Hierarchy! (small oversight)

    I had to smile at your laundry list of societal wants. And we all know that it starts with each of us first. Typically, we cling and hold on tightly to people, positions, places, events, time, and possessions — at the expense of our human wholeness.

    Impermanence is truly a permanent fixture in these parts and the sooner we make friends with it, the more fulfillment will bloom.

    Thanks so much.

  37. Great post Jonathan. Like it or not, change is coming.

  38. Jonathan,
    Well said. The thing I hear on the news all the time is people are frustrated that the economy isn’t fixed yet. How could anything in that bad of shape get fixed in such a short amount of time. All people seem to want to do is complain about it. Sacrifice is out of the question.

    If people could just accept that change is necessary in order to fix a problem, maybe all the complaining would stop.

    Great post!


  39. Kirsten says:

    I’ve noticed this in myself recently, and it’s disturbing. It sounds so obvious, but after about a year of daydreams it finally dawned on me that I needed to do more than just talk and occasionally write in order to get to any of the things that I was talking about doing. Now I’m trying to implement just a few changes at a time – business and income first, then some of the personal changes I’ve been wanting to make.

  40. I agree Jonathan, I think people are resistant to change. Primarily because real change comes from turning within and seeing how we can change ourselves, how we can contribute, where we’re holding ourselves back from making a significant contribution.

    It’s easy to point the finger at others and blame them for not creating change, but change doesn’t happen by waiting around for others to do something. It happens because someone said; I’m going to see what I can do. And then doing it!

  41. J.Hagmann says:

    Great post. Human nature tends to be homeostatic, it basically does not like all kinds of changes, it means bothering and bullying my mind and body constantly … I want my silence.
    Greek philosophers have already written about this, over centuries it did not affect greek society though, as it seems. In order to develop and change some lessons have to be learned , it’s not without sacrifices either.

  42. Rex says:

    So many comments, it makes no sense for me to add another one, but I can’t help it – this post was so good.

    Thanks for a new angle on leadership. I’m using it tomorrow at a corporate manager staff meeting to talk about process improvement.

  43. Peter says:

    This is a very very old issue and it’s called Integrity.

    Integrity is closing the gap between what you know to be good and what you actually do.

    To live with integrity you need Awareness and Awareness is in very very short supply.

    You have to Wake Up to life. As de Mello put it: “Waking up is unpleasant, you know. You are nice and comfortable in bed. It is irritating to be woken up.”

    And so you get these strange things we see in the world. Good people doing bad things. Wonderful artists going to the grave with their song still inside them… never singing, never making this valley of the shadow of death brighter and more beautiful. We’re sleep walking, bumping into poles, stepping of cliffs even if we see the edge.

    So, I don’t view it as a choice. I don’t view it as people making the choice to refuse change. Few are truly awake to make this choice. 🙂

  44. shahzeb says:

    I was planning to write about something about the ends and the means that people choose through their life.
    Thanks for clearing my head jonathan.
    even though i am just an engineering graduate from india.
    Yet i feel in the same way as ppl do across the ocean
    It’s a nice feeling….

  45. beth chase says:

    There is an old saying that goes something like this:

    When the pain of staying the same exceeds the fear of change then you’ll change.

    I think it is hard enough to embrace change when you can own the process because, as someone mentioned above, when you don’t know the outcome you can’t say with enough certainty that the payoff you seek will be the payoff you get.

    Factor in the sense that we, as individuals, have little or no control on a lot of the changes that we are being forced to face and you get a huge pile of fear. Compound that with the sense that “they” or “the powers to be” are demanding change (or not) without actually changing themselves and you get a huge pile of anger. Now you have a fearful, angry person and they are not likely to be open to any change that might threaten what they have now.

    As I read this post I keep being reminded of the stories in Nudge and in The Tipping Point where big changes came from little actions. Modern political rhetoric talks a lot about sweeping changes to attitude. Any sweeping change, that comes from outside, is going to be met with a lot of resistance. But little changes can effect big declines (the broken window syndrome) or huge improvements (keeping a clean subway car clean, always). Those are actions that anyone can own, they are small and non threatening.

    One last thought that popped into my head is the perception that “everyone” or “no-one” is doing it so why shouldn’t or should I? This goes back to the idea of integrity that one commenter mentioned above. In the US I don’t think we value integrity as much as we claim we do. We value comfort and position more.

  46. Ana says:

    “A leader is someone who is willing to own not just the result, but the process.” ABSOLUTELY! The old, it’s the journey not the destination is right on the mark. The questions/challenge is to live in the process – and among many things, I imagine, a great deal of staying in the present/moment is key. Great post.

  47. Meg Worden says:


    Such a bold point in this article. It’s easy to complain about how things don’t work. It’s a far different story to rewrite the book, toss the blueprints and start fresh. Humans are hardwired for safety and comfort. Pain continues to be the great motivator.

    One of my fav quotes:

    Human beings cling to their delicious tyrannies and to their exquisite nonsense, till death stares them in the face. ~Sydney Smith

    But, feeling hopeful and loving the new service biz paradigm, where we uplift and serve one another as a model for prosperity.

    Change will happen.

    Thanks for writing and sharing. 🙂

  48. Meg Worden says:

    Jonathan that is. Typo. 🙂

  49. Alysson says:

    I have to disagree a bit with the title. I don’t believe it’s as simple as “Everyone wants better…”. Some want better for everyone. Others want better for most. And others want only what’s best for a select and privileged few.

    Money talks in our system of government. Voters are little more than dancing marionettes in the race to permanently morph a once democratic system of government into a pure, unadulterated Corpocracy. And right now, those who only want what’s best for a select and privileged few are winning…decisively.

    At the core, those willing to own the process and the result are often not the ones with the means and power effect real change. Public servants are demonized as greedy freeloaders for making $50,000 a year, yet those making more than $250,000 a year in the private sector are supposedly barely able to survive financially, so asking them to sacrifice is out of the question. The poor…the elderly…the most vulnerable, on the other hand, “not our problem”.

    When that is the nature of the political conversation, it’s hard to hold on to the hope that someday our society can evolve toward compassion, empathy and a belief in social justice for all human beings – not just those who share the same beliefs & lifestyle.

    • Croft says:

      A govt. Employee IS a freeloader. They are paid out of their neigbors taxes…. Any taxes that they contribute our in turn also the result of their neighbors taxes being assessed. I’ve never met any govt. Employees that hired anyone or made a good or service. I’ve met many 250k level folks that run small businesses and employee people.

      The point isn’t that the rich hate the poor… It’s that you don’t get rich by making others poor…. You get rich by working hard and abit of luck.

  50. Johnny says:

    I agree with the leadership statement and found this entry to be on the money.

    IF you haven’t already read through Colin Powell’s 18 leadership points sometime.

  51. I really wish this post weren’t as accurate as it is. I find too many people looking for something or someone to do FOR them so they don’t have to be self-sufficient.

    My business is trying to affect change by helping high school students and recent grads make great career decisions. I believe that the old system of career “luck” is failing and too many kids are being sent out to do something/anything without the knowledge of how to maximize their abilities.

    As you noted, change is tough, even if it is guaranteed to produce a positive result!

  52. Mark Graban says:

    It’s a similar quote from both Peter Drucker and Peter Scholtes (paraphrasing them):

    “People don’t resist change, they resist being changed.”

  53. Deanne says:

    ‘Everybody want to go to heaven, nobody want to die’ I know this from a Peter Tosh song, maybe he wrote it, maybe Marley. maybe somebody already quote this, either way, worth repeating.

  54. Rob says:

    The only constant in life is change.

    Perhaps the entrepreneurial opportunity is to help facilitate change.

    Own the change process.

  55. Geri Stengel says:

    Interesting take on the status quo. I like your definition of leadership.

  56. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change. “Better” means the same things you already have with a slight improvement in quality. Change means something different. Better is safe. Change is scary. (@ jonathan fields) […]

  57. Katie Goode says:

    So true! People also don’t want to change until it’s too painful or uncomfortable for them NOT to change.

  58. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change. “Better” means the same things you already have with a slight improvement in quality. Change means something different. Better is safe. Change is scary. (@ jonathan fields) […]

  59. […] I liked this observation from Jonathan Fields: Everyone wants better; no one wants change. “Everyone wants to own the result,” Fields writes, “but nobody wants to own the process.” […]

  60. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change. “Better” means the same things you already have with a slight improvement in quality. Change means something different. Better is safe. Change is scary. (@ jonathan fields) […]

  61. […] I liked this observation from Jonathan Fields: Everyone wants better; no one wants change. “Everyone wants to own the result,” Fields writes, “but nobody wants to own the […]

  62. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change. “Better” means the same things you already have with a slight improvement in quality. Change means something different. Better is safe. Change is scary. (@ jonathan fields) […]

  63. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change [Jonathan Fields] […]

  64. […] via Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change. […]

  65. Dave says:

    That’s good– I also like this one:

    A leader is one who creates not followers, but more leaders.

  66. Abbie says:

    Completely agree!

  67. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change […]

  68. Threepwood says:

    Great piece; love the definition of Leader.

  69. […] are you striving for? It’s so easy to get distracted, disillusioned or just discouraged from the full potential and possibility of […]

  70. […] It’s not a constant mess, for systematic effort will refine your operating systems.  Without the constant, though, things will remain a mess.  And it’s a constant struggle to overcome the mess for ‘Everyone wants better.  No one wants change’. […]

  71. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change | Jonathan Fields You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter and Facebook. Twitter’s the best way to contact him, too. […]

  72. Carla Moss says:

    This is it! “Everyone wants to own the result, nobody wants to own the process.” On one hand I tend to think that since we live in such an instant gratification society, with ADD tendencies, that we become impatient with the process, given we also create shortcuts or abbreviations for everything. On the other hand, I wonder if people become ‘change-adverse’ when they’ve experienced a lot of change and instability in their lifetime, that they’re simply seeking a constant. Perhaps it’s a combination of both scenarios. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jonathan! Very thought provoking.

  73. Annie CLARK says:

    Be the change you wish for the world!

  74. Mike says:

    Now if only we had a leader…

    The main reason i voted for Obama. Politics aside (i lean republican) but i though maybe he’d be the one to be able to galvanize the majority to work for real change.

  75. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change | Jonathan Fields You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter and Facebook.  Twitter’s the best way to contact him, too. author, Better, change, culture, decision, effort, everyone, Facebook, hard stuff, immediacy, Internet, jonathan, jonathan fields, one, photo, post, result, source, stuff, twitter, Wants, way, work, yuri Address: http://mktsci.com/blog/2011/06/573/ « The iPad Is Still The Only Tablet That Matters (AAPL, GOOG, RIMM) Trackbackno comment untill now […]

  76. Lacey says:

    All of this is swell and everyone can say they want better and they DO sincerely want change, but it’s the process that hurts and scares people.

    If you read Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, he shows a man, chained to the floor of a dark cave, who fights to break free and leave his state of ignorance. Plato describes the process of breaking the chains as painful, uncomfortable, and most of all, incredibly difficult to motivate through successfully.

    I think this allegory rings true. The process of change is hard to grapple with because it causes severe discomfort and pain for many (or the few with power). That pain caused by the process is what causes people to shy away because I’ll bet money that the “everyone” who wants change is probably not into masochism and doesn’t want the risk of severe discomfort, no matter how bad their “current” situation may seem.

    I think change comes when people are forced into a position where they can’t fake being happy anymore or when their ability rationalize some positive aspect of their situation has been exhausted.

    Those who can suck it up and deal with the troubles that come their way see their successes pay off in the end. The problem with that hard working mentality is that we’re not individualizing the problem. Rather, the “everyone” rules out the “individual”.

    With that said, step one is to get “everyone” on the same page and to recognize we’re all in this together. Then the process of moving forward as “everyone” can really begin.

  77. Brad says:

    Well said. I sum this idea up as everyone is Self-Serving. At some point a leader has to make a hard decision and upset some people. Politics is the greatest example. It’s easy to say yes, really hard for a politician to say no. That’s why we are in this budget mess. Politicians are the worst offenders because they want to get re-elected. Their “job” is to make people happy. The real job is to make our country a better place with some governance and organization.

  78. Phil, Gilford NH says:

    “A leader is someone who is willing to own not just the result, but the process.”

    Jonathan, you hit the nail on the head here. Unfortunately, we have far too many “leaders” who want the headlines, the publicity, and the power, but not the responsibility or the answerability.

  79. Jason says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Found your blog post from Lifehacker. Your post really caught me attention as it applies to almost every area of our life. Better by nature requires change, and change requires inconvenience of some sort: pain, self control, denial of instant gratification, courage, hope, etc. This reminder encourages me to focus on the results desired knowing that change and its fruit is the investment required. It it if fact these inconveniences that remind us of the sincerity of our commitment.

    Thanks for the great reminder.

  80. […] in life, check out this article that talks about why this is a bad prospective, HERE. Follow […]

  81. Diane E Phillips says:

    One of my favorite quotes:

    “Nothing is constant in life except change”.
    Origin unknown.

    I heard it in my teens and it made so much sense I always remembered it. Later in life I discovered and now practice Buddhism in which this concept is central.

  82. […] Earlier this week, Jonathan Fields proposed a new perspective on the way people feel about making things better when he wrote, “Everyone wants better. No one wants change.” […]

  83. […]  Jonathan Field  summarizes the problem:  People want lower health care costs, but nobody wants to endure the changes to medicine, law and bureaucracy it’ll take to get it. […]

  84. David Lapin says:

    Jonathan, the volume of comments on your article shows that you have touched on a deep truth. I have been wondering though that people generally seem to like change, what they hate is monotony! We like to go out to different restaurants, we choose different vacation destinations, judging by the divorce rate many seem to want to change matrimonial partners too! So what is it about change that people resist?

    Perhaps it’s change imposed by others whose intentions we do not trust. And perhaps we do not always initiate change ourselves because we fear rejection or failure. So our resistance to change is more about fear and mistrust than it is about change itself.

  85. Croft says:

    With regards to much of what you wrote you are wrong. It,s not that people don’t want to have to endure change to achieve a goal. It’s that much of our political leadership ( I’m looking at you, progressives) maintain their political power by keeping individuals dependent on the State. Thus they cannot allow change without losing their political base.

    As a Libertarian, I want the govt. (i.e. My neighbors) out of my bedroom, out of my business and out of my healthcare.

  86. Change can be highly uncomfortable. Which is why many people resist. Everyone wants to take the route that is the least troublesome and disruptive to their lives.

    I’ve been on this path of reinvention for a couple of years now and I feel like I am testing out the theory of change and “owning the process” as you speak of with my own life. A very personal social experiment I guess as you can say. But since I can’t conduct this test of change on someone else’s lives and lab mice seems inadequate, this is only way then.

    Bring on the change! Its the only sure thing aside from death and taxes.

  87. Mike Wagner says:

    Truthful post.

    I would that leaders not only own the process but also the disciplines that the process require.

    Thanks for stirring things up for the good.

    Keep creating,

  88. […] reminds of 2 quotes, "Be the change you want to see in the world" – Mahatma Gandhi "Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change" – Jonathan Fields Also, some of you guys mentioned that I was being serious, actually yeah, […]

  89. […] news or a self-help book on managing change.  Today I read an interesting article entitled “Everyone Wants Better, No One Wants Change” and I got to thinking about how this post relates exactly to what some client couples go […]

  90. […] Food for Thought comes from Jonathan Fields: Everyone wants better, no-one wants change (via […]

  91. […] I liked this observation from Jonathan Fields: Everyone wants better; no one wants change. “Everyone wants to own the result,” Fields writes, “but nobody wants to own the […]

  92. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change. […]

  93. Robert Clay says:

    This post is genius Jonathan. Thank you. You’ve nailed it, and in so few words. I have tweeted it on, and as it is evergreen advice will do so again every few weeks.

  94. […] Jonathan Fields has an article that made me go, “HMMMM”. Everyone wants better, but they don’t want to do what it will take to get there, i.e. CHANGE. What do you think? From “Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change”. […]

  95. […] Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change | Jonathan Fields You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter and Facebook.  Twitter’s the best way to contact him, too. Posted in Mind/Body Tags: Body, Mind, Stress « Police in Denver Move on Protesters Babies of overweight mothers ‘get fatter in the womb’ – study » You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

  96. Leo Bottary says:

    I think Peter Senge had it right when he wrote, “People don’t resist change, they resist being changed.”

  97. […] are you striving for? It’s so easy to get distracted, disillusioned or just discouraged from the full potential and possibility of […]

  98. abbas says:

    Imam Ali said: with every breath , you one step closer to death.
    and i say :so change your life to what you think is right.

  99. […] It”s amazing how often I’m reminded that everyone wants better, nobody wants change. […]

  100. The dream of having it better makes people feel good, but little change occurs. When the synergy of the vision is combined to commitment to action, and to realize the punches will come, and must be rolled with, and unstoppable force is created within you. I find it takes both that passion and vision along with an undying commitment to action, and willingness to change, that’s important. Not to endure change, but to go on the wild ride with it.

  101. […] revolutionary spirits amongst us do. We do want improvement, true! But as Jonathan Fields puts it everyone wants better no one wants change. He really nails it but why am I not surprised. A site well worth reading and an article that I […]

  102. Abdul Syed says:

    Where is the damn like button!!!

  103. Jonathan,

    Don’t forget that everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die! Great post, thanks.

  104. This really hits home. I’ve seen this time and time again, people complain about society or something in their life that is completely in their control but they can’t admit it’s them that needs to change.
    We need to continue to remind ourselves so that we don’t wear those same blinders.

    Great post.


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