status quo

the always only way?

The Objection

“But that’s the way we’ve always done it!”

Really, always?

Is that the way it was done 100 years ago? (no)

How about 50 years ago? (no)

20 years? (no)

10? (could be)

5? (possibly)

Perhaps you mean that’s the way you learned to do it because that’s the way it was being done right then? (yes)


The Bigger Questions

Even if it has been done that way for the past century, is it the best way now?

Just because it made perfect sense in the past, even when the past was only the day before yesterday, does it make sense now?

If you had to remove three steps from the process, which would be the least missed and the first to go?

If you were creating the process from scratch RightNowToday how would you do it?

Does it even need to be done at all?

status quo?

“If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?” – Robert Anthony


Belief fuels action and habit, which creates a hard to break cycle. The more we do something, the more it becomes habit and the more of a habit it is, the more we do it. This penetrates every aspect of our lives.

Mr. Anthony refers to beliefs and it’s easy to think he is only talking about belief with a capital ‘B’: God, morality, religion, etc. That makes the power of his comment easy to miss. We have beliefs about every aspect of our lives. We choose our actions based on what we think will make us happy and successful (or at least happier or more successful than other choices), if only in the short run.

How often do we hear (or say), “I have to do it this way” or “Everyone does it like this” or “That’s just the right way to do it”? How often do we overjustify our actions without bothering to consider other possibilities (remember: we don’t want the best way, we want our way to be best)? How often do we use our beliefs to justify playing the victim?

We can try to make changes, but if we don’t change our beliefs, the changes will never stick. We’ll never, ever lose weight if we think we’re doomed to be fat. We’ll never get rich if we believe we were born to a loser’s life. We’ll never make good leadership decisions fueled by inaccurate beliefs. Too many times it’s been said:

  • “I can’t fire them, they are over 40.”
  • “I have no control over my employees’ motivation because I can’t give raises.”
  • “HR won’t let me fire them.”
  • “They’re doing a poor job, but I can’t fire them because I can’t have that position empty.”
  • “I spoke with them about that once, but it didn’t change so I’ve just learned to live with it.”
  • “I’m not a pleaser, I just don’t like people to be mad at me, but that’s ok, because no one does.”

Change the belief, change the action, change the result. Keep the belief, take the same action, get the same result. Your call.