Change Learning Mindset Self awareness

Why change always comes from within

Always look for opportunities to make ‘things’ better, starting with yourself. Always be curious about yourself and the world around you.

Steve Jobs ended his famous Stanford Commencement speech with this tip for the graduating students:

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Steve Jobs

My interpretation:

Always look for opportunities to make ‘things’ better, starting with yourself. Always be curious about yourself and the world around you.

Curiosity and change are the fun parts of being alive and growing as a human being and leader.

There’s so much to learn that you don’t know.

There’s a lot more you don’t know than you do know, so don’t pretend you know everything.

Staying hungry and foolish may be the hardest task we face in our lives.

We’re trained to become complacent. We’re trained to stay within our comfort zone. We’re trained to avoid confrontation with our fears.

Very few leaders, teams, or human beings will admit they have become complacent because complacency has a negative connotation and usually doesn’t end well.

Complacency is human and understandable, but still a disease to anyone aiming for (lasting) success.

Complacency can only be tackled by consistent hard work, constant challenging of the status quo, and the eternal hunger to get better every day.

Complacency has very little to do with strategy, processes, or projects. Complacency has everything to do with mindset.

This is given to very few human beings and organizations. It requires a mindset to disrupt yourself before anybody else does so.

The drive to do so and find the change needed inside yourself is probably the most challenging task you can ever give yourself.

Plain and simple, because we don’t like to be hungry and we don’t want to look foolish.

I pushed myself far out of my comfort zone a few times in my life. I’m talking about life-changing events.

Leaving the Netherlands was one of them. Deciding to lose 20kg of weight was another. Leaving corporate roles a third.

In every single case, I got a lot in return, as it usually works with comfort zones.

You overcome your fears. You learn. You grow.

In all of the above cases, the change had to come from me. Successful change always comes from within.

There needs to be an apparent reason why the change is required, a clear outcome the change will cause, and a clear action to make the first step.

And still, if the mindset is not there, it won’t happen.

Whether you’re leading yourself, a team, or an entire business, if the intrinsic motivation is not there, the effort will fail.

So the next time you hear somebody say: “you have to change,” you might as well ‘kill’ the person.

It just doesn’t happen that way.

Intrinsic motivation always trumps extrinsic motivation.

Similarly, when you hear somebody say: “I won’t change,” you need to be curious about their motives.

For some people, it indeed means that they’re so stuck in their thinking and their fixed mindset that they won’t change.

For others, they actually do change, AND they’re grounded in their values.

Don’t invest time in the first group of people. They can only change themselves if they want to.

Do spend time with the second group of people. They won’t change their values, but it doesn’t mean they don’t grow and develop.

It’s your job with who you’re dealing.

Most of all, maintain your level of curiosity high yourself and commit to learning daily.

That’s how you will keep growing and never become complacent.

Your turn: hungry or well-fed?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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