Education Doesn’t Necessarily Lead to Change
Just because you may know everything about a topic, the background, the history, the pros and cons, short-term and long-term upsides and downsides, doesn’t mean with any certainty that change will come. Talking with a behavioral change physician in an interview yesterday, we also talked about how important “intrinsic motivation” is over “extrinsic motivation.” In other words, the person who wants the change is more powerful than external factors such as fear, threat or reward.
Intellectual growth might also become the goal. Just to learn more and more and the original goal of change becomes secondary. Writers are notorious for going to endless seminars, workshops, and classes to avoid doing the actual job at hand: writing. “If I just read this one more book on character sketches, I’ll be ready.” It’s a lovely way of disguising excuses and pure laziness and/or fear as steps towards the goal of actually writing (or doing, creating, etc.).
Weight loss was another easy target that we discussed. A convincing diversionary tactic is to know the ingredients, calorie count, and nutritional values of food, but still sneak the cheeseburger.
What leads to change is action. Education plays a key role, certainly, but without intrinsic motivation, it’s all just theory.