Real, Sustainable Change Is Difficult

Real, sustainable change is difficult. Do you dare develop personally outside your comfort zone? Well, it’s also hard for me; it’s hard for everyone, and that’s why it matters.

Everyone who wins by imposing a superiority complex cannot win forever. Competitive thinking about others (“how to show that I’m smarter, stronger, greater than others”) always tries to control something outside of it. The only real victory is getting more than you plan and competing with yourself. This is true self-esteem; this is true personal development, not a comparison to others.

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The solutions for obstacles are often simple but challenging to implement!

In 2005 I had my first experience in training, but I did not follow through. In 2006, I found a very complex book I feared reading. In 2011, before starting again to deliver open training sessions professionally, I finished reading that book. A book I’ve intuitively feared would reveal the unacceptable truth. I wanted to believe that by reading this book, I would get answers to my questions. However, by closing it, I admitted to myself that this was not the end of the journey but the beginning of it. It’s a book written in a super-sophisticated technical language that I needed to read while holding a pencil for notes, with Google translate and a bunch of sheets and files just to START understanding it. In the end, I was right: I don’t want to accept everything written in that very complex book. In contrast, Alfred Adler has developed concepts of psychology that can be easily used by anyone to improve their lives.

At one point in college, I had a small revelation reading some facts related to transactional analysis, and I went to my organizational psychology professor. I said to her in an alarmed voice:

” Madam Professor, Madam Professor! I have to tell you something that worries me terribly! I realized I have a terrible savior complex [a manifestation of the superiority complex]!”

Relax! We all have it! The first, most important step is that you became aware of it. That solves half the problem!”

I realized how important it is to include in all my training programs a component that deals with “what will prevent you from implementing these changes” and to discuss ways to face their own obstacles with the participants. I have always had the support to learn, financially and morally, largely from my mother. And then, I managed to face what stood in my way, while others didn’t get that chance.

Only trying to implement this did I realize how much time the training session may take. This happens because, sometimes, when people start to think about obstacles, they take out of their bag all their traumatized past, all the reasons why “you will not succeed,” which they use to punish themselves and fail to find credible and sufficient solutions. But, most often, the obstacles they imagine are very different from the ones they encounter, resembling what’s below. So, as I was writing about how to solve most of your problems or organize your life, it is very tempting for everyone, especially me, to complain about imaginary problems (see photo) instead of solving the real ones.

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Finally, between addressing or not addressing the obstacles, I chose to adapt to the needs of each group and offer a post-training follow-up as personalized as possible. Of course, in any workshop for personal and professional development that I deliver, I provide participants with many exercises, techniques, questions, and bibliographic and practical recommendations. Still, the reality is that some people have more potential and motivation than others to overcome their own obstacles, and the carrot and stick metaphor does not work sometimes.

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A perverse mechanism of the superiority complex

Each time I plan to take root in a habit (e.g., learn a foreign language one hour a day, send a weekly e-mail to an acquaintance, work out in the morning, go to sleep at a particular hour) and I stop for a day, it’s like the habit is gone.

I learned to do things that others would take a lot of time in a minimal amount. So, if it takes a colleague 10 hours to do a project, I would do it in 2. If it took someone 1 hour to read a book, I would read it in 10 minutes. If it took a consultant 2 months to do a study, I would do it in 2 weeks. Thus, the way I used to do things always seemed to be in a distorted proportion to the working time, but I got used to preferring to do things all at once, that is, to work 10 hours a day rather than one hour per day for 10 days. Like most Romanians. Something like the habit pretty plastically described by a fellow blogger: “It also sort of gives you a sense of superiority to know that you have finished in two hours what other fools do in a week.” It’s like trying to compensate for the unbearable thought that I could not be good enough to succeed on the first try. However, I realized that whatever is worth doing is worth doing not that well at first because, over time, you can grow with discipline, patience, and step-by-step. Let others praise you or criticize you! You can use criticism for improvement and praise for testimonials.

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Perseverance and discipline are unique keys to performance, which does not go well in the lock of an inferiority complex that fears the spotlight effect. I will give an example from the National Blogging Championship, whose first edition I won in 2012. In 2013, 1st place was taken and held with unmatched success by Iuliu Baksi, who has shown better perseverance than me.

What I MUST do in training is not finite, unlike many of the professional tasks I have. Training, in my view, is not something that is done once, and that’s it. It is a process that does not end as soon as you snap your fingers. I got used to doing straightforward things for me, some very niche things, which I am very good at as a freelancer. Those are things that I can do very well without too much discipline. When I think I don’t need discipline for performance, it’s easy to disregard discipline. You probably felt that at some point, as well. Here’s how the subconscious desire to avoid the inferiority complex has taken away my motivation for discipline: I either do something well all at once or fast and feel good about myself, or I fail and give up, moving on to something else. After all, even for weaknesses, I must strive to find the contexts in which they become strengths. Discipline is essential to repeat again and again those simple things that turn an action into a habit.


Let’s redefine respect for ourselves and others by confronting ourselves!

Thinking about the changes that I make to myself, I felt that maybe I take it too fast when I take it too slowly, so I decided to kick myself, so perhaps I will step on faster.

The most important insight I had was when I realized that I tend to judge others instead of understanding them. This tendency is used by all those who use a moral system or system of norms to accuse young people who want to understand and be understood. I gave a conclusive example when I wrote about the culture of respect. In essence, this is the major problem for the gap between the generation, which is now 40-50 years old, and the generation in its 20s. I need to study more closely how this psychological mechanism works for me to correct it. I make many mistakes in this regard, sometimes without realizing it. I, first and foremost, make mistakes – even if it’s easier to show to others.

I wrote to you, dear reader, about all these personal thoughts and impressions so you know that I am in the process of personal development, and I know how to write articles that say that it requires a lot of effort to develop yourself – I know that.

As I wrote here, the problem starts with me – this is the honest mentality with which we can begin to understand the issues and find solutions.

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2013-present Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Schimbarea durabilă, reală, e dificilăpublished initially by Marcus Victor Grant in Romanian on the 17th of July 2013 on Discerne. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved. Updated in 2020. 

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.

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