how people change and grow

When I write down my life slogan, it’s “seeing life change up close”. I’ve heard Rick Warren say that he’s addicted to changed lives, and that propels him to do what he does with growing his church’s attendance, even though it’s not about numbers. I haven’t quite figured out what actions I’m propelled to do for what I like to see. I do know that it takes a particular finesse to cultivate access to another person’s heart, which is where I believe life change happens.

I’ve gathered random bits of data for this series of posts. There are different approaches to facilitating life change. (I know I am in desperate need for life change myself. Yet, I also am discerning how to live out of how I am made, rather than being someone I’m not.)

According to this article, there are only 3 things that motivate people to change:

  • pain – emotional or physical pain gives motivation to change
  • pull forces – transition in life stages or response to inspiration
  • push forces – motivation from someone else or circumstances

I’ve heard great things about the 12 steps to recovery, originally defined by Alcoholics Anonymous. Having met people who’ve been through this kind of a process and really work it, I’m amazed by their honesty, vulnerability, and profound life change:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps for Christians is enhanced with Scriptural references, and explicitly names God as the “higher power”.

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  1. jblair says:

    Your link to twelve steps of recovery ( is highly suspect. There is much inaccurate information posted, which might be done by some who dislike AA. Please go to the Alcoholics Anonymous official site itself:


  2. djchuang says:

    Jblair, thanks for the comment and link to the official AlAnon website. One of the great things about Wikipedia is that anyone, yes, even you, can login there and fix inaccuracies and misrepresentations. So that’d be a good way to clear things up right there.

  3. jblair says:

    It is best to go to the official site of any organization or group rather than a secondary one, especially when anything can be posted.