“Doing the same thing expecting different results will leave you disappointed every time. If you’re unhappy, change your moves.” ~Lisa Merlo-Booth
A great definition of insanity is “Doing the same behaviors over and over again, expecting different results.” People do the same things in relationships all the time—even when that behavior harms them. In affairs, for example, women worldwide continue to stay with men who are serial cheaters. The women respond in the same way with each affair and continue to get the same outcome. The men swear that they’ll never do it again; the women trust the men each time, the men cheat again, and then somehow, the women are shocked and devastated by the next affair. Men and women throughout the world may be married to partners who speak to them harshly, dismiss them, and frequently treat them mean. In response to the poor treatment, they walk on eggshells, over-accommodate, and try to be as pleasing as possible without upsetting their partners. The more they try to please their partners, the worse they treat them. This dance of kindness continues with the hope that their partners will see the light and somehow realize the errors of their way and stop being mean. When the partners do not become kinder, they become even more placating and continue to walk on eggshells hoping to avoid their partner’s wrath.
What’s going on with these choices? Is this just part of the human condition? Is this insanity? What’s going on is people often act out of fear, bad habits, lack of energy, lack of knowledge, hopelessness, and a lack of faith in the ability to effect change.
Here’s the thing, though: Continuing to do what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always got. Your life won’t change unless you change how you’re living it. Constantly shrinking to rage will result in more rage. Steadily procrastinating to get jobs done will result in more stress and likely more unfinished jobs. Regardless of what ineffective move you’re doing, if it’s not getting you more of what you want, it’s time to change your move. You wouldn’t continue to speak Spanish to someone who only speaks French to get somehow them to understand what you’re saying. That would be silly. So don’t continue to do what you’ve always done and expect a different outcome.
Look at the situation, get clarity on your piece of the equation, and have the courage to change that move consistently. If, after a while, your new response produces different results—in a positive direction—continue the new behavior. If there is no positive change with the new behavior, find another approach. Whatever you do, though, stop thinking that doing the same thing, again and again, will somehow produce a new outcome. If you are unhappy, change how you are showing up. Don’t get locked into insanity thinking—it’s zapping your chances of real change and a great life.
Challenge: Choose an area in your life where you’re dissatisfied and take an honest look at how you’ve been approaching this situation. If you’ve been making the same moves for years and expecting new results, it’s time to change your actions. There’s no room for insanity thinking in great relationships and rewarding lives.