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  • James McNeil

What an elephant has to do with making a change and making it work

During my last semester in college, we studied a book about change. The book is called Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, and it’s available on Amazon (or audible, which is the way I’ve gone back to take another “look” at it.)

This is going to sound very close to an advertisement for this book, and you might be tempted to think the writers are sponsoring this blog. That would be pretty awesome, but they are not. I am merely bringing you a tool that I’ve found worked wonders for me in my transformation from struggling with suicidal thoughts and ideations to overcoming them.

In the book, the authors refer to an analogy that explains why changing (patterns, directions, strategies, etc.) can be so difficult. The analogy is that of an elephant with a rider. The elephant represents our emotional side, the side that wants the easy path with the quick payoff. The rider represents our logical side, the side that understands short-term sacrifice for long term gains. In a straight-up battle between the two, I’m sure you know which one will win. The rider may be able to pull out a few short victories, but overall, the elephant will overpower its rider almost every time.

So, the question is posed on how can we get the rider and the elephant to go in the same direction? This book takes a hard look at that question and gives excellent answers.

You might be wondering what this has to do with overcoming suicidal thoughts and ideations. And your question is completely valid. To explain I would like to tell you the mindset I had before September 2017 (the night I almost tried a third time).

I had published a book the year before, and it had gone nowhere. I had tried business after business, and I did not think I could handle it. I was not even able to find a basic minimum wage job. I felt like a failure. I needed to change the way I saw myself. That change was overwhelming until someone helped me get started, and I am forever grateful for that.

Before I had even read the book, I had gone through the steps outlined in it to change my perspective. Looking back at it now, I can see how those steps unfolded, and even a book I was required to read in college became a page-turner because of how powerful I could see its lessons were.

So, for once, I will not direct you to buy Finding Your Personal Mission or to check out jamesmcneilauthor.com for the t-shirts provided by our friends at Really? Designs. Today I would like you to check out Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. You’ll be glad you did.

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