Wednesday, June 05, 2013

change or die

 True title of the study, it was actually called: CHANGE OR DIE and it was an evidence based study conducted by a group of physicians looking at humans ability / inability to change if their lives depended on it. In the study Dr’s took 100 critically ill subjects through an evaluation & subsequent intervention they needed to extend their lives. *Important, these were critically ill people who were heading towards certain death without a meaningful intervention.

50 participants aka: the sample group would receive a health risk assessment, diagnostic evaluation and then every aspect of health care they needed (free of charge) from operations, to therapies, drugs to to support groups to get & keep them on the path to great health for one year. The other 50 members aka: the control group would receive the same health risk assessment, diagnostic evaluation and then a list of recommendations they needed (free of charge) to get & keep them on the path to great health for one year. The study was to compare the impact & effect of a full scale intervention vs. an implied intervention as well as demonstrate the results of this extended support.

Long story short, researchers found negligible difference between the two test groups and their lifestyle habits after 1yr. At the conclusion of yr 2 (of the 50 who received the complete analysis, diagnosis & treatment) only 2% continued with the recommendations while the rest relapsed into old habits and eventually returned to their critical status. In this example, only 2% of this test pool (even with their lives on the line) were able to change.

This study example raises three particularly disturbing questions which I think about generally, personally & professionally.

  1. Are we predisposed to behave a certain way regardless of the interventions afforded to us?
  2. Has their been an effective study to demonstrate what measures, can & will help us better the 2%.
  3. Are we (as a species) really this stupid.
We work in a business with a mission statement around facilitating personal reinvention in an industry born of that back of supporting healthy change. While we have not conducted our own evidence based study, we are HUGE advocates of working the mental muscle in tandem with the physical prescriptions in order to evoke the desired changes people seek. Change starts and is abandoned, acclimatized or accelerated upstais 1st, with downstairs eventually following along. I wish more people understood that and invested (at least some time) starting there.

I’ll never forget the customer who looked at me smugly and said “you can’t change people - because people don’t change”. I wanted to punch him in the face.

  • I’d like to think people can & do make changes – small medium or large.
  • I’d like to think that with a decent level of support, people could learn to find the confidence to believe in themselves and be better than the person they were yesterday
  • And I’d certainly like to think that given the ultimatum of imminent death more than 1 of 50 or 2 of 100 would make the necessary changes.
Think about this post as it relates to your life’s trajectory. Are you in need of any changes?  Will you embrace these changes or will you succumb to your unhealthy habits and carry on?

No really? That is a real question. 

Be the 2%.

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