Einstein once said, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity.” Many of us believe we are dealing with the cards life dealt us, with no choices in how our future will go. They read their Bibles, but don’t understand how to become transformed.
We keep doing these things because that’s the way we learned it throughout our lives. During my training under motivational speaker Les Brown, he often spoke of Martin Seligman, who in the 1960s researched the process by which animals or humans relate one thing to another. In the case of Seligman’s experiment, he rang a bell and gave a light shock to a dog. After a number of times, the dog reacted to the shock even before it happened. As soon as the dog heard the bell, he reacted the same as when he was shocked.
But then something unexpected happened. Seligman put each dog into a large crate that was divided down the middle with a low fence. The dog could see and jump over the fence. On one side of the fence was electrified, but not on the other side. Seligman put the dog on the electrified side and shocked lightly. Expecting the dogs to jump to the non-shocking side of the fence, they just laid down. It was as though they’d learned from the first part of the experiment that there was nothing they could do to avoid the shocks, so they gave up in the second part of the experiment.
Seligman described their condition as learned helplessness. Romans 12:2 King James Version (KJV) has the answer: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Here is when we need to look at the man in the mirror, take a good look at yourself, then make that change! You have got to want to make a change. Don’t just accept your dire conditions and give up.
There is another short story about when we make change in our lives by finally walking down a new street. I first heard Wayne Dyer tell it. Here is how it goes:
Chapter One of My Life: I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It’s not my fault. I still take forever to find a way up. Chapter Two: I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again, I can’t believe I’m in the same place! It isn’t my fault, but it still takes a long time to get out. Chapter Three: I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there and I still fall in! It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It’s my fault. I get out immediately. Chapter Four: I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. Chapter Five: I walk down a different street.
Romans 8:28 says, “And I know that all things work together for good, to them who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Once you learn this lesson, you will know for the rest of your life, then you can even share. It is called wisdom.
How many of you know someone who walks down the same streets of life? Life for every one of us is very short, even if you live a hundred years or more. The first step in changing our lives is to realize what we’re doing isn’t working.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.