Giving the ‘Niggle’ Time to Work

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Change


I didn’t like the idea. In fact, my instant response was ‘No way’ and I continued outside into the garden. But then my mind – the conscious and unconscious – started turning it over and over and over. I was still resistant, but there was a niggle – like something stuck in my teeth that I couldn’t get out. Part of me was annoyed because I didn’t want to be thinking about it, I was trying to focus on the task at hand. However, one of the joys I have always found of ‘manual’ or ‘physical’ labour has been the ‘space’ it gives my mind to think.

In the end, the niggle grew and I began to see the merit of the idea. I did not know how to make the idea work or fit it in, but I moved from stubborn resistant to possible. Working a little longer outside, I had identified the barriers, the things that would have be changed, dropped, or overcome for the idea to work (at least from my perspective). But still no solution.

Eventually, I went back inside. Apologised for my reaction and shared my thinking. Together with my partner, we were able to find a way forward and make the idea work.

Change of all sizes often follows a similar path. We need people to introduce ideas and approaches and then give us space to consider them. And yes, often there is resistance immediately, but also often does our unconscious work away at it. Perhaps our job as change makers is to communicate the change in a way that’s full of hooks or ‘stringy’ enough so something gets lodged in others’ metaphorical teeth. And while consistency communicating our ideas from different perspectives is critical, so too, is giving the ‘niggle’ time to work.

Photo by White Family Dentistry


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