In the movie (and the book of the same name) The Secret, a guy named Bob Proctor emerges as one of the stars of the show via his analogous explanations of the famed (or notorious) Law of Attraction.
I don’t know how well-known Mr. Proctor was before The Secret, but he blew up after it.
I have watched some of Bob’s teachings on YouTube (he’s been doing seminars since the 1980s), and he has one on our natural resistance to new ideas.
Bob calls our ingrained ideas, or habits, “X beliefs.” And any new practice, idea or habit, a “Y belief.”
Our X beliefs have been with us for a long time. They’ve gotten us to where we are. They have seniority and a tenure-track position in our minds. Many people’s X beliefs are so ingrained that they’re not even up for questioning.
Y beliefs could be the key to the breakthrough we seek. A Y belief could remedy the underlying cause of the surface-level problem that we’ve been unable to fix. At its core, a Y belief is a new possibility.
Y beliefs represent change, new habits and possible discomfort. And, frankly, that new Y belief might not work. It may be even less effective than the X belief that we’re familiar with.
This is why most people never change— even when change is the very thing they say they want.
Most people would rather stick with the known “X” mediocrity of their life/career/business/relationship rather than deal with the unknown “Y” that may or may not make things better, even when that “Y” idea comes directly from a trusted source such as a coach, mentor, hired consultant or trainer, and is very likely to improve their circumstances.
The only case in which a Y idea is welcomed and accepted with open arms is when that Y idea produces immediate, tangible results. No one can argue with a demonstrated truth that’s thrust in front of their face.
Problem: most Y ideas don’t and won’t immediately “work.”
Because the remnants of X still linger.
I’ll give you an example that’s somewhat graphic, but I’m 100% sure you can relate to.
Let’s say you pissed in the toilet and didn’t flush (don’t act like you’ve never done it — by accident, of course). Then, you started pouring clean water into that not-flushed, pissy toilet.
Would the toilet water be immediately clear? No. The piss is still there. More and more clean water would dilute the presence of the piss, but it wouldn’t be completely gone until either a) the toilet got flushed, or b) you poured so much clean water into the toilet that all the piss got displaced.
It’s the same with the Y idea/belief that you brought in to replace X.
X has had 10 years to make its case in your mind/life, and you’d decided that it wasn’t working well enough.
But then you give Y, what… 2 weeks before you go running back to X???
Bob Proctor named this phenomena, this space when you’re introducing a new idea, while the pull of the old idea isn’t giving up its hold on you so easily.
The Terror Barrier.
It might not work.
It’s not working fast enough.
Can you guarantee me that this will produce a result?
Who else has succeeded with Y?
Yeah, he did well with Y, but my situation is different.
Well, I’m not ready to employ Y — if it’s here today, I can still do it tomorrow/next month/next year, too. In the meantime, I’ll stick with X.
Every time you turn away from a new Y and go back to mediocre X, X’s grip on you gets that much stronger — and it becomes that much harder to get away the next time.
Most people eventually just give up and resign themselves to a life of X.
These are not dumb or lazy people. They’re not without goals and dreams. They do want to succeed, and they have access to the same information as everyone else.
It’s just that habits are hard to break.
PS- Join The Game Group and be coaches through your own personal Terror Barriers.