People Don’t (Easily) Change


I recently listened to a friend give a post-mortem on ending a business relationship with someone he was very close to, but who consistently refused to take personal responsibility for his actions.

As we were talking, we reflected on some lessons life had taught us. One of my own is that people don’t easily change. Put a different way, if someone has a character trait that you don’t like – you need to be the one to adapt – or else move on. I have found that despite promises to the contrary, it’s unlikely someone will change and less likely you can be the influence or catalyst.

This has been a tough business lesson for me personally as I tend to be loyal to a fault and usually believe in second (or third) chances; I like to be liked by others and I tend to avoid confrontation. It can be a bad combo.

It also reminds me of one of my favorite films, A River Runs Through It. In the movie, Paul (played by Brad Pitt) has a gambling addiction. It’s obvious to everyone it will be Paul’s demise and no amount of intervention by his brother Norman or their father (a minister) is ultimately able to change Paul. However, it’s also this risk taking aspect of Paul that makes him such a likable guy and enticing person.


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