On Tuesday, President Barack Obama won a second term in the White House by defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney. President Obama prevailed despite a laundry list of national challenges that were present in his first four years in office. Here is a short recap:
– Rising unemployment
– Expansion of national debt
– Higher gas prices
– Lower household incomes
– Controversial health care reform
– Government takeover/bailout of an auto company
– Soon to be higher tax rates
– Tense foreign relations (especially with Israel)
Logic dictates these challenges would not bode well for a sitting President. How did he overcome these seemingly devastating national issues? How was he able to convince 60 million Americans he was still the man for the job? The answer lies in a simple word: pain.
Along with our reasoning abilities, we are also emotional beings. One of the feelings we must deal with is pain. We are generally OK with certain levels of pain. We can tolerate some, we might get somewhat frustrated about it, but most often pain is not powerful enough to push us to drastically change our course.
Think about it for a moment. We tough out the common cold and forego seeing the doctor until our throat is on fire. We neglect our personal debt until we face bankruptcy. We let chemical addictions linger until our job is taken from us, our spouse has left and we spent a night in the hospital due to an overdose. We endure all kinds of abusive relationships, deplorable job situations, poor physical fitness levels, and sinful behaviors until the pain finally engulfs us.
I believe in order for real change to occur in any area of our lives, we need to experience an “I’ve Had It” moment. This moment exists as a threshold to break through. If the pain intensity about the situation never exceeds our tolerance threshold, lasting change will not take place. It’s the moment in time when we say “Enough is enough. I can’t take it anymore.” It is the moment we realize change MUST take place or we will be forever harmed. It becomes the line in the sand…our moment of truth.
In many cases we have thought about this moment over and over again. We have dreamt about what it would take to finally push us over the edge to action. We may not know the exact circumstances that will move us there, but we absolutely know it when we reach.
Lasting change begins when the red line crosses the black line. The spike in pain (accompanied by stress, fear and anger) is the driving mechanism that promotes change.
The unique thing about the pain threshold…it’s different for everyone. My threshold is not the same as yours. Which is why President Obama was reelected. 60 million people have not experienced a level of pain intense enough for them to want to change course.
I’m not advocating for, nor do I desire there purposely be more pain on the American people. I hope our country can turn it around. If not, well then we will see what change four more years of pain will produce.
Next Post: Have a Dream? You’ll Have to Change This
Prior Post: Forget Me Not