Triggers – Opportunities and Barriers to Change for the Better

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The book “Triggers” by Marshall Goldsmith, a world renowned business consultant, is about the obstacles that prevent us from changing for the better. And about the ways that help us become who we want to be. One of the key messages of Marshall Goldsmith’s book is that the greatest danger to us is in the environment, which the author calls a non-stop trigger, because it is constantly changing.

Triggers are signals that make us behave in a certain way. This is all that triggers a certain type of behavior, good or bad. This is, in fact, everything that a person reacts to – other people, the environment, our thoughts, feelings and memories. Often, those who benefit from it deliberately create conditions in which we act contrary to our interests. The good news is that we can learn to recognize and suppress malicious triggers.

Why is it so difficult for us to change?

Because it’s really hard. You probably know this from your own experience. We hope for willpower, we are waiting for enlightenment or special days to start, we believe that there is still a lot of time ahead. Plus, we’re all great excuses. Well, if we achieve some kind of change, then we think that we can stop there. We are deceiving ourselves. We do not want to admit that we are naturally inert. In addition, when we plan to change, we have a split personality – on the one hand, we become a leader – the one who orders to change and awaits results; on the other hand, it is a performer who often encounters unexpected obstacles. And these parts of the personality are gradually moving away from each other. The strategist does not anticipate obstacles and blames the subordinate. And he makes excuses or feels guilty. Like a wise leader, the internal strategist needs to correctly assess the needs and abilities of the internal employee and choose the most appropriate leadership style.

That is, we ourselves are the main enemies for ourselves?

One of the key messages of Marshall Goldsmith’s book is that the greatest danger to us is in the environment, which the author calls a non-stop trigger, because it is constantly changing. In some conditions we become one person, and in others – another. Our behavior is the result of environmental influences. And the worst environment for us is the one that makes us do what we think is wrong. Often, those who benefit from it deliberately create conditions in which we act contrary to our interests. Casinos and shopping malls are good examples.

So, if you don’t change the environment, then you can’t change?

This is rarely possible, and it is not required. Recognizing the power of the environment is already a step towards change. When we carefully analyze the environment, then we become less vulnerable to triggers that provoke us into unwanted behavior. In his book, Marshall Goldsmith talks about simple ways to change.

What are these ways?

As often happens in books on personal effectiveness, a very simple and well-known idea is packaged in a new format and given a catchy name. It’s not bad. On the contrary, a clear and simple system is needed to consolidate new actions. Marshall Goldsmith is not inventing anything new. The basis of his system is awareness, a pause between a stimulus and a response to it. We cannot choose the situations in which we find ourselves, but we can choose our reaction to them. In the development of correct reactions to difficult situations that prevent us from changing for the better.

Conclusion

The ideas of the book are not new. This is a mix of oriental practice of mindfulness, proactive thinking, elements of behaviorism, advice on personal effectiveness, situational leadership. The book contains a lot of repetitions, examples and stories from the life of the author and his friends / clients, which is typical for this genre of books. Like any other book on personal effectiveness, it will not be suitable for cynics and those who consider themselves the smartest.

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