Between all the consultants at Rewire, we get to do a lot of workshops with people who are hungry for real change.
One of the quick exercises we love to put people through inside of a workshop is what we call the “I know exercise.” (You can try it in your next meeting or family dinner if you’re feeling brave.) Take any group of people and ask them if they know that exercise is good for them. They will quickly say, “Yeah, I know!” Ask any group if they know that getting good quality sleep is good for them, and again they reply, “I know!” You can even make it specific to the group of people you’re working with. We use it with leaders: “Did you know that offering praise and being consistent with your employees is a good thing?” The response in our workshops is the same, “Yeah, I know.” This simple exercise works for all kinds of basic principles in business and our personal lives.
The point we’ll make in workshops is that, when we use the two words “I know,” we are relying on the parts of the brain responsible for logic and reason. Here’s the trick, though: Just knowing something does not necessarily correlate to taking action on it (though we like to think it does).
This is important – if not critical – for long-term, authentic change.
We don’t make changes in our lives just because our pre-frontal cortex
understands and agrees with the fact that we need to. We change because of a different part of our brain, the part that engages our emotions
. Still, most people believe that if they could just learn the right thing and engage the pre-frontal cortex more fully, they would change.
Pay close attention to when and where you say, “I know” – particularly when you are trying to grow or change in any way. When you hear yourself say it, that should be a trigger for you to dig deeper and look for the emotion connected to the action or lack of action. It isn’t your knowledge, or lack of knowledge, that is hindering your efforts.
It’s the emotion behind it.