Earl R. Smith II. PhD

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(From Self-Sabotage: 12 Nasty Habits):  


  • Make or become different
  • Take or use another instead of
  • The act or instance of making or becoming different

This definition is a useful place to start. Notice the three different parts. The first is intentional towards an object – either animate or inanimate. “I changed the color of my car.” The second implies an alternative. “I used this rather than that.” The third is intentional within. “I changed my mind.” It is this part of the definition that will serve us best as we work through the chapter.


OK – I’ll admit it – “over my dead body” is an offer that I have sometimes found very hard to refuse. I make a distinction between serious dedication to exhaustive inquiry – constructive engagement – and the kind of pig-headed obstructionism that this behavior evidences.

I have great patience for constructive engagement – a dedication to detail and thoroughness. Often it has been the differentiator that has allowed me to prevail over the shallow-water types who just skim the surface and phone it in. I like to have lots of constructive engagers around me. They are the professionals who will beat out the amateur every time.

The type I am describing here has none of those positive characteristics. These are people who just don’t want their routine disturbed – don’t want the deckchairs rearranged even if the ship is sinking – can’t stand the idea that the world of tomorrow might be different from their world today. Since all life is change, they are, in a fundamental way, in opposition to life itself.