We seem to believe that there is a sort of natural law which says that if a problem has been around for a long time, it will take a long time to fix. But there is no proof of this beyond our own beliefs. If we can free ourselves of this self-limiting idea, rapid change is possible. Its is one of the underpinning principles of Brief Therapy; change is not just possible, it is inevitable.
Very often the natural indicators of change are missed. We can be so hooked into a problem that we fail to notice, for example: the moments when depression lifts or is less severe; when a disruptive child is more compliant; flashes of receptivity in an otherwise hostile relationship; when a difficult task suddenly becomes easier.
If there is a natural law, it is that change happens all the time. Whether we accept it or not the world we live in, our lives and all around us, are constantly in flux. ‘Sameness’ is a figment of our collective imagination; nothing really stays the same,creeping change is constant and everything is unfolding and evolving.
If you believe that you are stuck with a problem you’ve had for a long time, think again. Rather than resigning yourself to the permanence of a situation, start to look out for the small and inevitable shifts and changes that are regularly happening. Learn to challenge your own (unconscious) predictions and you’ll start to free up your thinking.
In the words of Wendell Johnson, “Once we learn to look for differences instead of similarities it is virtually impossible… not to get new ideas. For the habit of asking ‘How do these things differ’, or, ‘How might this be different’, is one of the basic techniques of originality and creativeness.”