THE FOUR IMPEDIMENTS TO CHANGE
If you inspire people, they can make change, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich told young Local 1245 leaders in Berkeley on Jan. 24.
But people can find a lot of reasons to do nothing instead. There may be real barriers to change, but people carry around a lot of those barriers inside themselves. Reich calls this the “impediments” and says there are four big ones:
- The first impediment is denial, denial that there is a problem. “People don’t want to see a lot of problems. You’ve got to explain them and they have to feel them,” Reich said.
- The second impediment is escapism. People will say, “Yeah, there’s a problem but it’s not my problem.” Says Reich: “You have to help them see that it’s their problem, it’s their family’s problem, their friends’ problem, their children’s problem, their grandchildren’s problem.”
- The third impediment is scapegoating, which Reich describes this way: “Oh yeah, I know it’s a problem. I certainly understand it’s my problem. But it’s because of them.” If you can find a convenient enemy to blame, you never have to look at any of the deeper reasons that things aren’t all they could be.
- The fourth impediment is cynicism. Reich calls this the biggest obstacle to change. “People say, yes I know it’s a problem, I know it affects me, I know it’s not because of ‘them’, but nothing’s going to change. Nothing’s ever changed.”
Help people get over these impediments, Reich says, and you’ve laid the groundwork for inspiring people to change the world.