Modern definition of insanity – to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.

12 Mar 2016

The Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis who practiced obstetrics in Vienna 1840 started a change that would eventually shape medicine worldwide.

He noticed impoverished women, who were under the care of midwives, were not nearly as susceptible to fatal childbed fever as the wealthy women who were cared for by doctors.

He figured out, that this was due to the fact that the doctors were not washing their hands before examining the women.

As an experiment Ignaz, tried washing his hands before seeing patients, with the result that his patients did not contract the dreaded fever. But when he implored his colleagues to do likewise, they scoffed and laughed, paying no attention to his seemingly outrageous idea.

Finally in 1862, in a desperate attempt to make his point, he cut off one of his fingers and plunged his hand into the open belly of a corpse, only to develop the fever and die within a few days.

Yet still nothing changed. The medical hierarchy was not yet ready to change, because without any knowledge of germs, his observations made no sense. It wasn't until Louis Pasteur in the 1880s and germ theory materialised that reluctant doctors were forced to comply with new rules on cleanliness.

Organisations today are no different, as they are simply made up of people, who often choose comfort before courage to change, even if things are now proven. And to quote Brene Brown 'You can have comfort or courage, but you cannot have both."

We comfort: eat/drink/drug/seek sex/think/watch TV/play video games/internet and we even get upset when our comfortable route to work is denied us, for the sake of improving the actual road or rail we are on.

I talked last week about the importance of desire (want to) over the knowledge (what to and why to) and skill (how to) to create a healthier habit. Due to shifting from our comfort zone to somewhere less initially comfortable - desire (courage) is key.

I know for me, doing more mindfulness will help, yet up until my last depression I didn't have enough 'want to' – even although places like Harvard and Oxford have carried out endless research which proves it aids mental health and can reduce depression by up to 60%. Why would I not embrace it – except to avoid change and thus effort!

How can you find the courage to change your lifestyle to become healthier from what you 'know' will make you feel better and you have yet to embrace?

And often crucially, can you find a buddy to work with you or support you along the way?


A Moodscope member.

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