Where we “focus our attention” and “our time perspective” for addressing change can make the difference between low leverage changes in our lives or transformation of ourselves into more than we ever believed we could become. By focusing on where the stress is the greatest and demanding that symptoms (anxiety, worry) be reduced quickly we often only postpone rather than create meaningful change. At some level we know it all along but taking action to reduce or eliminate symptoms seems very pressing. But actions have consequences. By focusing on low leverage change we may actually pay a higher price in the long run. Low leverage change may eliminate or reduce symptoms but it may also reduce important signals. If we can tolerate the symptoms for a longer time, they can signal the direction of transformational learning that has the potential to change everything in our lives. It is the difference between turning off the “needs maintenance” light in our car or doing the harder thing and taking it in for required service.
The consequences of many important actions in our lives are remote in time. Those who and are willing to suffer the pain of “not knowing” for a longer period of time than is comfortable (i.e., do the harder thing) are generally more likely to enjoy the fruits of transformational learning. It is the rare person indeed who would ever choose to go back.