The Science of Why It’s Hard to Evolve

March 1, 2011

In nature, the only time that evolution takes place is out of necessity.

Giraffe’s grew longer necks because they had to, not out of vanity.  The critical thing that seperates humans from other mammals is our large frontal lobe, which enables us to consciously choose to evolve.  Nevertheless, evolution that does not happen out necessity will be harder.  It’s easier to recreate your life’s work when you get fired.  It’s easier to leave a toxic relationship when it’s tumultuous then when you hear the whisper, “I’m not really happy here.”

Understanding this evolutionary-biological principle can free you to step out of your comfort zone and stretch for what you really want in life.

In his book, Evolve Your Brain, Dr. Joe Dispenza points out that it’s human’s unique ability, thanks to our hefty brain, to consciously decide to make a change.  You don’t have to be a product of your circumstances or environment.

Nevertheless, your biology will lean towards difficulty changing when it’s not out of necessity.  You may ruminate, get a knot in your stomach or an anxious feeling in your chest.  It might take a lot of chutzpah (yiddish for audacity) or consoling from your friends.  All that is normal.  It’s easier to do things when there is a fire lit under you.  Thus, the key to evolving when it’s not out of necessity is to light your own fire.

It’s an interesting paradox you face being human.  On the one hand, you pop out of the womb fully equipped to grow, explore and expand.  On the other, you are wired to form patterns and habituate to life.  We have the drive for evolution and the fear of evolution.  (This ties in beautifully to the eastern traditions theory of duality, but that’s a whole other article.)

Challenging yourself towards growth and expansion requires fueling your own fire and managing your mind.  One of two things needs to happen.

  1. Make yourself sick of your current state. The adage, “you have to hit rock bottom to change is referencing the concept, evolution is difficult when not out of necessity.  I personally try to avoid needing to hit rock bottom (but trust me, I’ve been there).  To do so, make a list of all the reasons you are fed up with your current level.  Write what your life would be like 1, 3 and 5 years from now if you didn’t make this change. The more feeling words you get in there, the better.
  2. Be pulled by the future. Change takes effort.  Research shows that one of the benefits of visualization is it’s stimulating effect.  You can get physiologically aroused when you fantasizing about the future.  (I know what you’re thinking… “Emiliya, did you really need research to figure that one out?”)  The kind of arousal I’m referring to here is the rush of adrenaline or excitement you get when you think of yourself accomplishing your future goals.  Visualization can help you overcome the hump of feeling stuck on your current level.  Write your vision of what your evolved life would be like. The more feeling words, the more stimulating.
  3. Talk back to your mind. When you’re mind makes excuses, procrastinates or ruminates on making a change, remind yourself that it’s just your brain acting out of habit.  Write down your mind chatter and evaluate whether you can know any of the statements to be absolutely true.

Need help evolving or breaking through in your life?  Feel like your stuck?  You’re not quite at rock bottom, but the need for change is boiling inside you?  Contact me or call me for a free coaching consultation at +1-212-356-8747 (212-F-L-O-U-R-I-S-H).