Because I’m in the change business I am frequently telling people that change is really easy if you know how to do it.  Almost without exception, however, their response is: “What do you mean change is easy?  Everyone knows that people resist change!”

Don’t you think that people resist change?  Don’t you notice that your friends, family and co-workers frequently know what to do and just don’t do it.  Of course people resist change.  It’s obviously human nature.

Despite the conventional wisdom, people don’t resist change.  People do resist something, but it’s not change.  Let’s take a look and see what it is.

Let me describe two situations where people usually don’t change when they’ve been told why it is necessary and see if you can figure out what they really are resisting.

Resistance in Business

A common business situation involves workers who are seemingly resisting change.  Many companies employ people called service technicians.  These people see their job as installing, fixing, and maintaining whatever product their company sells.

In recent years management has tried very hard to get these people to provide a higher level of customer service.  They are sent to workshops where they are told the importance of taking better care of customers: how customers will buy elsewhere unless they get a high level of service, how their jobs will be threatened if customers stop doing business with their company due to poor service, etc.

But in case after case the level of customer service doesn’t improve much.  According to management, many of the service technicians are “resistant” to change.

Well, if I’m right and they aren’t resistant to change, what are they resistant to? … Here’s a clue: These employees believe they are technicians, whose job it is to install, fix, and maintain the company’s products.  Now they are being told to take more time talking to customers, telling customers what they are doing and why, answering all the questions customers might have, etc.

Given their belief about their job, they think that what they are being asked to do will make it more difficult to do what they think their job is.  They are thinking: How in hell will I ever get my job done if I have to spend all my time talking to customers?

Well, if someone is telling you to do something that will make it difficult for you to do what you think is right, what does their request sound like to you?  …  Like they’re telling you to do what you think is wrong.  

In other words, the technicians are not resisting change (doing something different), they are resisting doing what they think is wrong given their existing beliefs.

What appears to be widespread resistance to change is nothing more than people acting consistently with their beliefs. 

When I realized this many years ago (when I was a management consultant), I created workshops that would change workers’ beliefs about their jobs.  The new job belief led to the desired behavior.  After eliminating the old belief and creating the new one, the workers naturally and effortlessly changed their behavior. 

In the case of service technicians, we had them create a new job belief—I am a customer satisfier—in which taking better care of customers became possible. The shift in belief allowed employees to see taking care of customers as an integral part of their job, instead of getting in the way of their job. (This new belief led to the level of customer satisfaction going from the mid 70s to the mid 90s, with 100 being the highest.)

Resistance in Relationships

Now let’s look at a situation that comes up frequently in relationships.  Imagine that you have a relationship with someone who yells at people whenever they don’t do what she thinks they ought to be doing.  Perhaps you have told this person that you don’t like her yelling at you and you think it is inappropriate for her to yell at others. The response might be, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”  But her behavior continues despite this admission.

What if she had the belief: Yelling is the only way to get people to listen and do what I want?  If she had this belief, if she wanted to get someone to do something and they weren’t doing it, she would be predisposed to yell to get results.

So if yelling is the right thing to do to achieve her goal, then not yelling is the wrong thing to do.  The “yeller” doesn’t resist change; she resists doing what, for her, is wrong.  Change the belief and the behavior will change naturally and effortlessly.

The logic of your argument for change is useless if you are trying to get people to do something inconsistent with their beliefs.  They will continue to resist doing something they think is wrong. The next time you think someone is resisting change, ask yourself: What must they believe that has them think their current behavior is right and what you are suggesting is wrong?

Fundamental change IS possible

If people were generally resistant to change, then there would be little if anything we could do about it.  But if people don’t change because they believe what they are doing is right and what you (or others) want is wrong, then we are now in a position to produce change in individuals and in the world by helping people realize that their beliefs are not “the truth.” (Can you see that all political arguments are nothing more than conflicting beliefs? Consider: Global warming. How to deal with the economy. The failure of our educational system. Health care.)

How do you know someone’s belief isn’t “the truth”?  Because all beliefs are only “a truths,” the meaning we give to meaningless events.

What appears to be widespread resistance to change is nothing more than people acting consistently with their beliefs.  When people change their beliefs, change occurs naturally and effortless

Thanks for reading my blog. Do you agree or disagree with the points I made in this post?  Why?  Do you have something to add?  Your comments will add value for thousands of readers.  I read them all and respond to as many as I can.

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If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to where you can eliminate one limiting belief free.

Copyright © 2009-2012 Morty Lefkoe

Use this information to improve your life

Think about something you have been trying unsuccessfully to change in your life … something that seems impervious to change.  Then see if you can identify the beliefs that have you acting the way you are currently acting and that are inimical to the new behavior.

Once you identify these beliefs, can you see how they are keeping the current behavior in place and making it difficult to exhibit the new, desired behavior?

After you’ve done this exercise a few times it will become clear to you that change is not inherently difficult; the difficulty is in acting inconsistently with your beliefs.


  1. search engine spiders September 22, 2014 at 6:43 am - Reply

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  2. Todd January 17, 2014 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Someone once said…”change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”.

  3. Oliver December 16, 2012 at 6:39 am - Reply

    Very clever article. It sounds so obvious, yet something which I sometimes overlook!

    When I consider the conflict that I see at home or in the workplace, it’s now easier to see that it is all down to a conflict of beliefs. Yet, it’s not always easy to realize that when you are in a middle of a heated discussion.

    Thanks for another great article, and a greater reminder of the way we think;-)

  4. Tim December 15, 2012 at 8:56 am - Reply

    I’ve found the Lefkoe Method to be great for eliminating disempowering beliefs and moving into the space where beliefs are created.

    Do you have any programs that focus on creating empowering beliefs in that space? Or is the goal to let go of placing meaning on events (be it good or bad) and to experience your life consistently from the creator space?

    • Morty Lefkoe December 15, 2012 at 9:41 am - Reply

      Hi Tim,

      You are correct: “the goal to let go of placing meaning on events (be it good or bad) and to experience your life consistently from the creator space?”

      Love, Morty

  5. Ana December 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Totally in agreement with Suzanna about the difference between legitimate, real-world fears that could well keep us from disaster — or at least tell us a project is just a bit too risky in our present circumstances — and illegitimate or irrational inner fears that keep us from personal growth. And yes, I too would like an example of how to tell which is which.

    Jackie, thanks for your input. I didn’t totally understand, though. When I said I wanted to get something straight, it was just a saying we use to mean that I’m trying to understand Morty’s POV. As for the belief I tried to get rid of using Morty’s sample (and I know it’s an inner, irrational belief), I know it didn’t work because I still have the belief, left over from childhood.

  6. Suzanna Kiraly December 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    I agree with your post, we have to change our beliefs before we can change. We have ego, set habits and subconscious beliefs based on fear and doubt that keep us in our comfort zones. But these can be legitimate. To me, the challenge is knowing when these are legitimate and when they are not. For example, you might have fear about doing something and that fear might actually end up protecting you from disaster. On the other hand, it might not be a legitimate fear. How can you know if it’s legitimate?

    • Morty Lefkoe December 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Suzanna,

      Beliefs are the meaning we give to meaningless events. They are not based on fears and doubts; they cause fears and doubts.

      Fear is justifiably caused by a threat to your survival. If there is a real threat, then the fear makes sense and take the appropriate action. But if you fear starting a new project, or going to a party, or asking a girl/guy out on a date, or speaking in public, etc., then clearly there is no threat to your survival. The fear is caused by beliefs.

      Love, Morty

      • Suzanna Kiraly December 14, 2012 at 9:54 am - Reply

        Hi Morty,

        Thanks for the reply. It seems to me that much of survival has to do with having social skills, which can help to explain why many of our fears are social. For example, many people fear job interviews. We need social skills to do well at a job interview so that we can get a job, make money, and have a roof over our heads, which is important for survival. So, the threat to survival is not necessarily a direct, immediate threat, like an animal attacking you.

      • Ana December 14, 2012 at 10:02 am - Reply

        In agreement with you, Morty, about distinguishing between types of fears generally speaking. Even the very common fear of speaking in public, which could threaten your reputation if not done well (and not everyone does it well), is caused by beliefs. But there’s no physical threat, which seems to be how you distinguish it.

        I don’t think fears have to be life-threatening to be justifiable. That’s a little too black and white to me. Threat of physical harm, even possible physical harm that’s not guaranteed to happen, is to me a perfectly justifiable cause for fear — and a justifiable reason to be cautious about how you approach major life decisions. Sometimes that means starting certain projects that involve risk to life or limb.

        I don’t mean that usual what-if-lightening-strikes or some other risk that is certainly possible but rare or at least not probable. Someone who holds themselves back from doing something because of this kind of fear is probably being stopped by beliefs.

        In the end only you can make the judgment as to whether or not a fear you hold is based on a belief or should perhaps be taken seriously.

        • Morty Lefkoe December 14, 2012 at 11:23 am - Reply

          Hi Ana,

          Based on our experience with thousands of clients, I would guess that over 90% of the things that we are afraid of are not inherently fearful; the fear is caused by beliefs. Almost everything that you are afraid of, if you eliminated beliefs, would no longer be fearful.

          Love, Morty

          • Ana December 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm

            All the more reason to keep our own counsel, use our own judgment, when approaching any activity that has an inherent risk to life and limb.

            Suzanna’s example of job interviews is valid. Let’s face it, if you continue to fail at it, you’re going to be out on the streets (especially these days). And not matter how good you get at this, so much of your success is chance because it’s also based on competition and your history, neither of which you can change.

            So … since your survival depends on this, any fear you feel is real and not based on belief. Unless you have some other income source, your need for a job is fact, not a belief.

            Now, say you have a modest income from a job but want to start an online business. Ok, there’s the common risk of failure. But the risk is not to life and limb; you won’t quit your job until the business takes off.

            Although some things you fear may well be actual fact (market downturns, no demand, wrong niche), most fears you operate from are based on belief.

            What if you remain in the research phase and don’t actually start the business, even though you found you could with very little money? Self-sabotage, based on beliefs either conscious or unconscious.

            Many fears here would nevertheless be considered reasonable, generated from actual fact. Growing any business comes with built-in risks and obstacles. You’re trying to grow this one to sustainability while holding an outside job, and the failure of most start-ups is an indisputable fact, not just someone’s belief. That’s a lot of stress.

            The biggest real fear would be where, having grown the business and quit your job, you hit disaster anyway and the enterprise fails, leaving you with nothing and possibly out in the street.

            So there’s an example of a legitimate fear of starting a new project. I’m not saying don’t start it, or that other fears around it aren’t based on belief, but some fears are legit and need to be addressed in the real world. Anyone would understand this, especially someone who has faced disaster due to a project that didn’t work out.

  7. Jackie Mackay December 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Ana

    Straight? open mind? No such thing…. because we may well have some beliefs about what they are even – Also what manifestation is has occupied the minds of Man for some time.

    One of the things I love about Morty is the lack of the swirly smoke and mirrors that believing there are ‘no facts’ definitely conjures up for me… only when you get up in the morning like the Wizard of Oz the curtains are drawn to let in the morning light.

    Ana are you sure it didn’t work ? If so you must know what ‘it’ is and how it would feel if it did ‘work’… so you are already halfway there – or not.


  8. Ana December 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Let me get something straight I’ve always wanted to here:

    There are no facts in life, only beliefs. Everything we’ve always accepted as fact — even physical, biological, scientifically-proven, verifiable fact — is nothing more than a manifestation of the beliefs of the beholder.

    I’m just trying to understand your thinking here, keeping an open mind, that’s all.

    I did try your free get-rid-of-one-belief thing. Sorry, didn’t work.

    • Morty Lefkoe December 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm - Reply

      Hi Ana,

      I didn’t say there were no facts. Facts are events in reality and there are billions every second. What happens is a fact.

      What I said is that events have no inherent meaning. That someone didn’t do what they promised to do is a fact/event. But that event doesn’t mean anything about that person, about that person’s relationship to you, about life, etc.

      So you get the distinction I’m making?

      Sorry our free belief-elimination program didn’t work for you. It works for almost everyone but for some reason not everyone.

      Love, Morty

  9. Bob Lahl December 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    Really liked today’s post. The Belief being their job and doing it either right or wrong as mentioned in the technician story was great. Happy Holidays to You, Shelly and the girls.

  10. Jackie Mackay December 12, 2012 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Dear Morty
    Thanks for your post.
    I am really appreciative of the insights you just pass on freely and inspire insights from others as well. You are the Dude :-)

    Here’s one from me. The fact that people cling to having a meaning sorta diverts from the principle as I see it that the action actually was a meaningless one. Sure the OP (other person) did something that seemed to have a motive, a purposeful outcome and hence a Meaning. The amusing part is that this assumption – however evidenced, may or may not be at all true. To change a supposed meaning therefore plants a right / wrong position on one or other of the ‘meanings’ so called.

    Whole new game of cowboys. It could raise scenarios like….”Buy the RIGHT meaning and the course will give you a sense of being right all the time.” – or something. Finding a motive in law is often called a ‘fog of nonsense’.

    It took me a while to really go for the idea that their action had no inherent meaning – let alone be anything like what I thought it was and convinced myself it was true. Furthermore adopting a stance that if others could not see it they were …er..

    I’m a tough old nut. When I ‘did’ my first belief – a free one I was astonished at the quietening of my ‘voices off’ My artful little entity of a belief that I was’nt good enough kept admonishing me to that effect. It stopped quite noticeably – like a fridge turning off in the quiet of the night. At that time Morty let you do another one so I did and I soon created enough cash to get an online confidence course with over a dozen beliefs. It took me three days and I re-did some because I was completely programmed to attach a meaning to my belief formation. I had to think very fast and outside the box as guided sensibly to do.

    To go back to the original point of this story / share, I STILL CLUNG TO THE TWINGE OF PAIN inherent in the meaning I had passionately attributed usually an injustice. Rising above that took some doing and unraveling.

    So thank you again Morty and all. i find these reminders fortifying.

    love jackie

  11. hannah December 12, 2012 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Your best post to date! Brilliant!

  12. Natalia December 12, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Hello Morty!

    What kind of belivie create self sabotage. Also what it is about reverse psychology, when there is tendency to do opposite even if it is against your own good
    Best regards, your loyal subscriber

    • Morty Lefkoe December 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Natalia,

      There are lots of beliefs that create self-sabotage. Most negative self-esteem beliefs could contribute to that behavior.


  13. James December 12, 2012 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Yes, this is an important piece of the puzzle.

    Of course I’ve been long ago convinced that it is possible to change- quickly, easily, and sometimes without intending to. I’ve done it. Yet, this helps explain why.

  14. Tracey Cooper-Durrani December 12, 2012 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Really enjoyed this post and gives me food for thought! Discovering what are your “limiting beliefs” I think is the hard part for most though?

  15. Lyn December 12, 2012 at 6:41 am - Reply

    “Because all beliefs are only “a truths,” the meaning we give to meaningless events.”
    Marty, I am curious. We give meaning to meaningless events. Is there such a thing as MEANINGFUL events?

    Thank you.

    • Morty Lefkoe December 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      Hi Lyn,

      No, there is no such thing as an event with inherent meaning.


      • Lyn December 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm - Reply

        Well…that’s freeing now isn’t it!

  16. Lex December 12, 2012 at 6:38 am - Reply


    Great post Morty!

    Very great way to start my morning off 12-12-12

    Love and Light!

  17. Carl December 12, 2012 at 5:09 am - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    I agree with what you are saying that beliefs drive behavior, including the ability to change and that changing beliefs could change the world, but in general people who believe something about the world and their position in it are not likely to even realize that change is indeed needed.

    So, before anything major changes in the world there has to be a “mass realization” that something is wrong, then a willingness to change. More than likely we are at that point globally at the moment and probably a series of “mass” belief shifts ARE coming.

    I’m convinced that beliefs are the key to unleashing the power of creation, be it good or bad. Let’s hope the people of the planet pick up some “good” new beliefs this time :-)



  18. Shaun December 12, 2012 at 4:21 am - Reply

    Any advice on solving an issue….i am a family man and want to get a my own online business up and running…..i checkout stuff buy programs and do not follow through…(due to lack of time and not decisive)……just have to get my head around my current beliefs that
    perpetuates this cycle…..

    Food for thought….Thanks Morty.

    • Morty Lefkoe December 12, 2012 at 10:15 am - Reply

      Hi Shaun,

      You can get rid of 19 of the most common beliefs that result in procrastination and lack of confidence in our Natural Confidence program. You have to get rid of the fear of starting something new where you could fail.

      Check it out at

      Let me know how your life changes after this program.

      Love, Morty

  19. joao December 12, 2012 at 4:01 am - Reply

    if you are certain? why is so difficult people change a belief if he or she knows it is nos correct??

  20. James December 12, 2012 at 3:27 am - Reply

    I am not sure of the truth of the explanation so I am starting with my own experience. Having done the exercises on changing limiting beliefs a few times I find it useful to ask myself what four others would think if I am complaining, blaming, shaming or disapproving about some event or situation. Sometimes the emotional charge in the thinking is reduced allowing new responses to emerge. [Perhaps by reducing the hot cognitions arising from the appraisals that led to the conviction that the event was something awful & that I or the other was wrong and that was the only way to see it. Or from the understanding that events are meaningless until I give them a meaning]. If the service technician or the yeller could see that events are meaningless until they give them a meaning they would be more willing to experiment with different attitudes and behaviours. But not while they are still upset (over a long period) about the unreasonable demands that are put on them and the stress they endure to do their jobs.

    They might be minimising the risk and uncertainty to them to get things done – like people who wont experiment in exam conditions because they want to maximise their proficiency at knowing what to say and do. Some people perform badly in exams as they are pessimistic about their performance and still the make themselves take them. Perhaps, increased anxiety and depression increases cortisol which reduces cognitive flexibility (

    Believing that they are doing the right thing might be only one aspect of perceived ‘resistance’ to change. It could be resistance to the conflicting wishes of others who may not have their stressful task who they might fear do not have their best interests at heart if they have to shape up or ship out. If they are getting ‘criticism’ for doing their jobs wrong or getting results in the wrong way there is a potential for shame for displeasing significant others. From Paul Gilbert – one answer to the shame is self compassion – reducing their stressful threat responses.

    To give meaningless events a new meaning that results in behaviour that is more satisfying for others assumes that the experience can also be satisfying for the ‘resistant’ customer server or communicator. If the Lefkoe Belief process works in this way and the targetted individuals want the improvement in their self management – then great. However, because of the potential for indirect aggression (Arun Gandhi) by instutions or groups against service workers or people who aren’t happy with their lives – there may be greater challenges to some individuals to give a pleasant and helpful response to all customers and if some struggle to achieve this – I think they also deserve empathy and compassion for trying.

  21. neeta December 12, 2012 at 3:15 am - Reply

    Hi Tomasz,

    I accept that our beliefs are different, but still that does not take away the feeling of frustration, I feel if she could also accept it it may be better.


    • Tomasz December 12, 2012 at 4:56 am - Reply

      You are absolutely right. It would help a lot.
      And you are not able to change her beliefs. Sorry.
      All what you can do about it is to model the behavior: show by your example it is possible to live accepting the difference.
      And beware this may work or may not. That’s just the way it is.


      • Tomasz December 12, 2012 at 4:56 am - Reply

        …’be aware’ – sorry for typo

  22. neeta December 12, 2012 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    I totally agree with you that conflict between people is due to conflict of beliefs, a I see this happening everyday between my mother-in-law and me. It is quite an uncomfortable situation. So should I be changing my beliefs in this case or is there any way I can change my mother-in-law’s beliefs.


    • Tomasz December 12, 2012 at 3:06 am - Reply

      There are more ways… One of them would be just accept the conflict of beliefs and accept the fact both of you have different beliefs.
      Unfortunately you can not ecologically change others’ beliefs unless they are willing to change.


    • Morty Lefkoe December 12, 2012 at 10:10 am - Reply

      Hi Neeta,

      There is no way you can change someone else’s beliefs. But you can always improve a relationship by changing your own.

      Love, Morty

  23. frances cranton December 12, 2012 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Thanks Morty,you know I came to the conclusion that it is the fear program running when we resist change .I shall take what you have said and digest and think about it

  24. Tomasz December 12, 2012 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Thats’ exactly what I ‘know’ i.e. believe.
    And one of most efficient ways of dealing with beliefs (I use) is provocative coaching as created by Frank Farrelly under the name of “Provocative Therapy”. It helps crack the old beliefs, especially when they are ‘hidden” and difficult to access directly. Of course some work is still needed to create new ones. All the process is fun for both the client and the coach.

    As I am constantly seeking new efficient ways, let me ask: is the Lefkoe Method (or at least its elements) available in Polish?



    • Morty Lefkoe December 12, 2012 at 10:09 am - Reply

      Hi Tomasz,

      Sorry but our work is not yet available in Polish.

      If you can handle the English, check out the Lefkoe Belief Process and eliminate one belief without charge at

      How does this compare with Provocative Therapy?


      • Tomasz December 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm - Reply

        I did it months ago and I keep reading your blog.
        I would say the method needs tyhe belief to be conscious or at least available to consciousness to work with. (I may be wrong of course).
        In provocative therapy/coaching (there is more to it of course) I would first reastate what the client is saying then I would slightly exaggerate it then use my intuition and creativity to go futher and WAAAY further being enthusiastic about “wonderful possibilities” that are opening before the client.
        This elicits strong emotional response keeping the client ‘attached’ to the initial statement and underlying beliefs and at the same time they would oppose the whole thing including the belief. This leaves the client in a state of confusion, then they would build new meaning to the initial “data” they built the previous belief on. All the work has to be done in direct contact.
        (This is a simplified description, of course. One can find more on YouTube by typing ‘Frank Farrelly’, ‘Nick Kemp’ or my name (in Polish so I am not typing it here).



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