“We may say we want others to change for good reasons. But no matter how we pose the question, it is always a wish to control others. In asking the question, we position ourselves as knowing what is best for others.
“The behavior we describe in others may be an accurate description, but that is not the point. The point is, our focus on ‘those people’ is a defense against our own responsibility. The question ‘How do you get those people to change?’ distracts us from choosing who we want to become and exercising accountability for creating our own environment. We cannot change others, we can just learn about ourselves. Even when we are responsible for employees or children, we surrender our freedom and our capacity to construct the world we inhabit when we focus on their change.
“No one is going to change as a result of our desires. In fact, they will resist our efforts to change them simply due to the coercive aspect of the interaction. People resist coercion much more strenuously than they resist change. Each of us has a free will at our core, so like it or not, others will choose to change more readily from the example set by our own transformation than by any demand we make of them. To move away from the spirit of coercion, we replace the question ‘How do you get them to change?’ with ‘What is the transformation in me that is required?’ Or, ‘What courage is required of me right now?’ When we shift the focus to our own actions, we also have to be careful not to ask it as a ‘How?’ question. This is not a question about methodology, it is a question of will and intention. And when we honestly ask ourselves about our role in the creation of a situation that frustrates us, and set aside asking about their role, then the world changes around us.” — Peter Block