Ep#122: Why Change is Difficult

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Welcome back my brothers, to another Alpha Male Coach podcast, and while we are here, welcome to the New Year too! I’m so excited about all the things I have planned for this year — not just in my own life, but also for all the things I will bring to you guys.

Today I’m going to tell you about something called cognitive dissonance. Simply put brothers, cognitive dissonance is the parent that birthed the phrase, “discomfort is the price of growth.” But I’m going to dig a little deeper with you. Change is a simple action, but it’s made harder because of cognitive dissonance. ‘Cognitive’ refers to the mind — your thought. ‘Dissonance’ is the disagreement between two thoughts that you’re holding simultaneously in your mind.

This is a problem. Why? Friends, your thoughts create your reality. Every time you want a new reality, you have to create a new thought, which can create mental discomfort or cognitive dissonance. See what I mean now?

To keep us on track, there is one easy thought to fill your mind: your dreams aren’t going anywhere. Cognitive dissonance is just a necessity for us to live the best version of your life, you just need to remind yourself that the things you see in the world aren’t necessarily what is going on. 

So here is what you gotta do. You need to decide what you want and practice believing it, even though it’s super uncomfortable. Plan for it to be there, expect its presence and know that it is coming. Then, you’re going to want to disprove the current belief system that you do have. And I have so many more tricks to help you out with this. All you need to do is give me not even a half-hour of your time. Join me today!

Want to know more about what I do and how I can help you? Sign up for a free 45-minute session with me, and I’ll show you how this works!

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Kick things off with me by hearing about what I’m excited for in 2021.
  • We look at the difference between goals, and New Year’s resolutions.
  • I’m gonna break down cognitive dissonance into something that is understandable.
  • You’ll hear about the best ways you can tackle cognitive dissonance to reach your alpha. 

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:


[00:00:09] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Alpha Male Coach Podcast, the only podcast that teaches men the cognitive mastery and alpha mindset that it takes to become an influential and irresistible man of confidence. Here’s your host, certified life coach and international man of mystery, Kevin Aillaud. 


[00:00:32] KA: What’s up, my brothers? Welcome back to the Alpha Male Coach Podcast. I am your host, Kevin Aillaud, and welcome to the New Year. I am really excited about this year and all the things and stuff I have planned, not just in my own life but also all the things I am eager to bring to you guys in 2021. Since this is the first week of the New Year, I decided to move this episode, the content for this episode up in the rotation, up in the queue because it has to do with goals. It has to do with all the New Year’s resolutions that you may or may not be keeping with yourself. 

Now, as you know in the academy, we are all aiming at an impossible goal for 2021. This format, the format and the process for the impossible goal is diametrically different than the idea of a New Year’s resolution for several reasons. But there is one similarity, and that similarity is the mental anguish and development of fortitude that is required for change. Today, I’m going to talk about cognitive dissonance, which sounds scientific. It sounds sophisticated. It sounds psychological. But basically, cognitive dissonance just feels horrible. It’s just you feeling horrible. It is the parent that birthed the phrase discomfort is the price of growth. That discomfort is cognitive dissonance. 

Remember, brother, there is nothing difficult about change in its physical form, in the form of matter. There’s nothing difficult about change. There is nothing difficult about making the change from eating processed foods and sugar to eating meat and vegetables. I mean, think about it. The action is identical. You pick up the food, you put it in your mouth, you chew, and you swallow. There’s no difference there. There’s no difficulty there. The reason it feels so difficult is due to the mind and the emotions which stems from cognitive dissonance. 

All right. So here’s what cognitive dissonance is. Cognitive refers to the mind, right? The cognitive you know as your thoughts. Dissonance is basically the disagreement between two thoughts that you’re holding simultaneously in your mind. When you have two thoughts that contradict each other in your brain, you are going to have mental discomfort. Two contradictory thoughts in your brain are going to cause mental discomfort, right? They’re going to create that cognitive dissonance. 

Why is that a problem? Well, my friend, this is a problem because your thoughts create your reality. So anytime you want to create a new reality or get a new result, you have to create a new thought which means what, brothers? Mental discomfort, cognitive dissonance. You have one thought that says, “I can make this much money.” Then you have a new thought that says, “I can make much more money.” Boom, cognitive dissonance. You have a thought that says, “I currently can’t lose any weight,” and you have another thought that says, “I think I might be able to lose weight.” Boom, cognitive dissonance. 

Now, this is the reason why most people don’t want to set goals. It’s the reason why most people wait until New Year’s to set goals, these resolutions. It’s also the reasons why most people quit on their goals, shortly after starting the process of change. Because as soon as you set a goal, it requires you to change your belief system about yourself, which immediately creates cognitive dissonance, mental discomfort. So it’s so much easier to just not set goals or just to wait until the first of the year. Then you don’t ever have to be uncomfortable. You don’t ever have to be disappointed. 

Now, you know that you’re experiencing cognitive dissonance when what happens is as soon as you start feeling that mental discomfort, your beta condition tells you, “Hey, you don’t have to be uncomfortable about this. Just give up on the goal.” Then you’ll be back to normal. You’ll be back homeostasis. Everything will be the same. You’ll keep believing all the old thoughts that we’ve always believed, and that’s more way efficient anyway. It’s way more efficient for us to do that, and then you can settle into some comfort, right? That’s what the beta condition says. 

Now, listen to me, men, because this is true. Your dreams aren’t going anywhere. They are going to keep calling for you to live into them, and so cognitive dissonance is something that is required in order for us to live the best versions of our own lives. Whether you’re working on an impossible goal, whether you’re working on a New Year’s resolution, or whether you simply want to change something that you’ve been wanting to change for however long amount of time and you’re ready to take that leap, then I want to talk to you about the idea that new beliefs that contradict old beliefs are actually very uncomfortable and seemingly dangerous to the brain. 

Now, remember, the brain wants to be right. It has that confirmation bias. It’s always wanting to prove what it already knows is true. The things you see in the world is not the way the world is. It’s the way your beta condition is. You see what your brain already believes is true. That’s what gives humans a lot of security and certainty and comfort and efficiency. When we go to prove ourselves wrong, which is ultimately what we’re doing when we make changes to our world paradigm or to our self-paradigm, when we want to create new versions of our own life is when we have to be willing to be confronted by our own selves, by our own belief systems, the beta condition itself. 

That’s a hard sell you’re making to your brain. I want you guys to know that. I want you to know this is a hard sell. This is what I’ve been selling my students for a very, very long time. I did it in the fitness industry and now I’m doing it in the life coach industry. We used to have a mantra in the fitness industry to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You might have heard this before. I used to say this in the gym all the time. Now, as a cognitive mastery coach, I’m like, “Hey, brothers. Are you ready to live the life of your dreams? Great. Do you want to feel mentally uncomfortable for a while? It’s going to be super fun. Do you want to be confronted and proven wrong? Come on. Join the Alpha Male Academy. It’ll be a blast.” 

I mean, that’s what I’m selling you guys. I’m selling you mental discomfort. I’m selling you cognitive dissonance. I’m selling you that life of your dreams that you are going to have to be uncomfortable. You have to go through discomfort in order to achieve, and I’ve been telling you guys this since the beginning. I’ve been telling you this through my own story and through the content of these podcasts, and that’s truly what you have to do. That’s what you’ve done every single time you’ve grown to that next level in your life. When you have given up negative belief systems about yourself, thoughts that have been proving negative things true and creating results that you don’t want, you’ve had to confront those beliefs and be willing to be uncomfortable for a significant period of time. 

Now, let’s take a look at the universal truth and the model of alignment because all this month in the academy we are working on the foundations of cognitive mastery, which is lots of fun stuff, and I am driving home the use of the model of alignment and how to step into cognitive dissonance by moving from the beta model to the alpha model. I want you to visualize the model of alignment in your mind. So there’s the CTFAR; circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, results. The universal truth set in an algorithm of five components. 

Now, picture the model of alignment side by side, right? There’s a big C over both because the circumstance doesn’t change. So you’ve got a C that’s the circumstance and then a TFAR on the left and a TFAR on the right. The model on the left is the beta model and the model on the right is the alpha model. There’s the model that you currently have. That’s the beta model on the left and that’s the one giving you the results that you currently are getting. Then there’s the model that you want to have, right? That’s the alpha model. That’s the one on the right. That will give you the result that you want to have. These two models are side by side. 

Now, to bridge the gap between these two models, to let go of believing the one that you currently believe and to believe the one that you want to believe, you have to go through the mental discomfort of cognitive dissonance. You have to hold two contradictory beliefs at the same time. Now, your brain will always encourage you to prove the new model wrong. It’s always going to encourage you to prove the new model wrong and it’s always going to encourage you to prove your old model right. So you’re already working against yourself. You’re already working against your primitive brain that is always looking for danger. 

Fear is always the go-to emotion of the beta condition and the primitive brain. That’s why it’s so easy to feel fear, anxiety, worry, doubt, anger, and hate. These emotions are highly seductive. They’re very powerful and they’re always controlling. Remember, brothers, new things, new beliefs, new thoughts, new actions, new results are always going to be perceived as dangerous to the primitive mind. So knowing that going in is super important because that mental discomfort is a part of the process. It doesn’t mean danger. It doesn’t mean run away, even though it feels that way sometimes. 

One of the things that I’ve talked a lot about in the academy and I’ve done a couple podcast episodes on this as well is the idea of bridging thoughts between two models. Sometimes, I call it laddering thoughts. I’ve also referred to these as bridge thoughts. Let’s go back to the alpha model that we want to create, which is a new thought that creates a new feeling that creates new actions and new results that we don’t quite believe yet. There are a lot of students that have money goals in 2021, anywhere between creating 100k this year to a million this year, and they don’t believe that they can make that much money in one year. One of the strategies that I encourage my students to do is to bridge the gap between the current beta model and the future alpha model with a model right in the middle, with a believable thought that is more neutral, that is more factual. 

I’m going to give you guys an example of weight loss because a lot of people take weight loss into the New Year as a resolution to eat differently and start exercising. The example that I’m going to use is if you have a current model, where the thought is I hate my body. Look, brother. I’m going to say there’s going to be some derivative of that, right? I’m not saying that your brain, your actual thought is, “I hate my body.” It could be that you’re thinking, “I hate the way I look.” It could be that you’re thinking, “I’m fat.” It could be that you’re thinking, “I’m weak.” It could be that you’re thinking, “I’m not attractive,” and so on. 

But in some derivative, your brain is saying, “I hate my body,” and the model that you want to get to is the thought would be, “I love my body,” or some derivative of that like, “I am fit. I am strong. I am capable. I am attractive. Therefore, I feel connected to it. I feel connected to my body. When I feel connected to my body, I eat only what is required for fuel, and I exercise to keep my body active and fit. The result is I lose weight and I maintain my natural weight,” where you might not be able to get there right away in the alpha model being I love my body. 

Now, stay with me here. I know you probably don’t actually think this thought consciously, right? Like I say, you probably don’t have the actual thought, “I hate my body.” However, this is true of all your results. If you hate the result, the way your body is, the job you have, the place you live, the relationship you’re in, whatever, then it’s because of the thought. It’s just confirmation bias, brother. That’s all it is. It’s not the result that creates the negative thought. It’s the negative thought that creates the result. This is why I always suggest to my students that they love their body, that they love their job, that they love the place they live, that they love the relationship they’re in, that they love the person that they’re with or whatever it is before they decide to leave it or change it. Changing the result doesn’t change the thought. Your thoughts are coming with you wherever you go, unless you go through the cognitive process of change first. 

Now, when you hold the thought I hate my body and the thought I love my body at the same time, it causes that mental discomfort because they’re contradictory. So one of the latter thoughts or one of the bridge thoughts that you can put there is I have a body, right? It’s just as believable. It’s a fact and it feels a lot better than I hate my body, and it helps you get rid of the thought I hate my body, which is in contradiction to I love my body. Now, we’ve kind of bridged the gap with a thought in between, right? 

Here’s a quick analogy. Imagine you’re leaving the island of I hate my body and you’re swimming to the island of I love my body. Instead of trying to swim the entire distance where you get tired or maybe you want to float in the water on your back, you just kind of hang out for a little bit. What you’re doing with that middle model, with that middle thought, that I have a body thought is basically you’re giving yourself a boat. You’re giving yourself an island, in between the two islands to take a rest, to grab some sustenance. Then when you’re ready, you can get back to swimming towards the island of I love my body. 

This is how I do all my work as it applies to what I want in my life. I think about a goal that I want to create and what is the thought that I need to believe in order to achieve that result and what do I believe now. I do these models and then I understand exactly how I need to get from where I am to where I want to be and I go all in. I go all in, my friend. I put all my chips into the pot for being uncomfortable. I am willing to be uncomfortable emotionally in order to bridge that gap, in order to get to the place where I want to be which is the life I intend on purpose. 

The question is what is the process to doing this, right? What is the process? What is the methodology? I’m going to break it down for you so that you can do some of this same process, this exact same thing that I do all the time and, of course, we do this every single day in the academy. This is the daily self-study. A lot of what the homework is that I send out as curriculum for the academy students that’s in the workbook is thought downloads, is beta models, alpha models. 

The first thing you must do is become aware of what it is you want. You got to do this. Believe it or not, my friends, this can be a challenge for some humans, especially humans that are used to people pleasing or are stuck in the gamma trap. You can’t accept I don’t know because when you accept I don’t know what I want, I don’t know, like any type of I don’t know, it’s your brain basically telling you that discomfort isn’t worth it. As long as you’re confused, you don’t have to deal with the mental anguish of cognitive dissonance. It’s a protection mechanism from a primordial brain. As soon as you know what you want, then you’re faced with having to deal with the new thought and the contradictory current thought which is the cognitive dissonance. So decide what it is that you want, what you need to think feel and do in order to create it. That’s step one. 

Now, as you begin to practice this new alpha model, this is your intentional alpha model, you will be uncomfortable. Your brain will tell you that it’s dumb or that it’s impossible, like the impossible goal. Or that you’ve tried it before and you failed. You’ve done this before. It doesn’t work for you. Your brain will produce and sabotage you to create evidence to prove that you will never be able to make a million dollars in a year or lose any amount of weight or move to Argentina or quit your job or find the woman of your dreams or whatever it is your goal is. Whatever it is you’re trying to do with your intentional alpha model, your brain will immediately tell you why it’s impossible, and you will try something to prove it true, and you will not be able to produce that result at first. You won’t. You’re just not going to be able to do it. 

So what you’ll do is just begin to feel that discomfort, and the ultimate answer will be to give up and go back to your current model, which feels tried and true. That feels comfortable and familiar. It’s like, “Yeah, this is it. I remember this. This feels great.” So here’s what you got to do, brother. You’ve got to decide what you want. You got to practice believing it, even though it’s super uncomfortable, even though you’re experiencing that cognitive dissonance. Allow it to be there. Plan on it being there. Expect the discomfort. Know that it’s coming and start to become comfortable with it. 

Now, the next step which you want to do is you want to start disproving the old belief system. So the belief system that you currently have, the one that you have now, that’s what we’re going to call the old one. That’s the beta model. We’re going to call it the old belief so that – Let’s say you’re someone that wants to lose 50 pounds and you have a belief system that it’s impossible to lose weight, that there’s something physically wrong with you. You tried dieting. You tried to exercises. It just doesn’t work. There’s something wrong with you, and your brain is telling you that you’re just going to have to face the reality. As long as you keep on believing that, you’re going to believe that you can’t lose weight. You’re going to be in a lot of mental anguish. 

Now, remember, brother. I was in the fitness industry for over a decade and I’ve seen people be in mental anguish. They’ll hold both of those beliefs as being true. They’ll hold the belief that I can lose 50 pounds and they’ll hold the belief that I can’t lose 50 pounds. What’ll happen is they lose it and then they gain it all back so that they can go back to the old belief system. I know that that sounds crazy but it happens all the time. Your actions are not enough. You must change the way you think.

But here’s the move. If you’re aware of it ahead of time and you can recognize that your brain will always want to keep proving its original belief true, then you can circumvent it. Then you can trick the trickster. Then you can go in there and you can circumvent the beta condition itself. So you have to start disproving that. You have to be willing to be wrong. One of the ways that you can do that is by backing away from your own mind and recognizing that what you believe now is just a sentence. It’s just a sentence in your brain. All beliefs are simply sentences. 

So if you back up, if you take a step and you look at it and you look at that sentence, I can’t lose weight, and you see that that sentence is optional. It’s a thought. It’s a choice. It’s not a fact. It’s not something that you have to believe. It’s not like gravity. It’s not a fact, my friend. It is just a thought. It’s just a choice. It’s just a volition that you’ve trained yourself to believe is true. When you get to that place, then you can decide ahead of time that you don’t want to believe it anymore. It’s not going to be a part of your belief system and you’re going to go out and you’re going to prove it wrong. 

That, my friends, is what’s crazy about this. If you think about the belief I can’t lose weight, you would think, “That’s a stupid belief. I want to get rid of it. I don’t want to keep thinking that.” But that is not true. Your brain really likes that thought because you’ve been thinking it for so long and you’ve proven it true to yourself for so long, and so your brain is very efficient at it, and it feels very protective. It doesn’t want you to go out there and try and lose weight and fail at losing weight. It wants to keep you in that comfort. It wants to keep you in your cave, so you have to know that what’s coming, whenever you set out on some impossible goal, whenever you set out on some New Year’s resolution, that you have to start proving it untrue. You have to start proving that old thought, that old pattern, that old belief untrue with everything that you have, your entire being. 

Then you get to move to the next phase, and the next phase is you start proving the new belief as being true. Now, if that seems too extreme, if it seems like you just can’t wrap your mind around it, if there’s just too much mental anguish that you can’t even get there, that’s when it’s appropriate to create a bridge thought, a ladder thought. That’s when it’s appropriate for you to create a ladder thought between the two thoughts. You have the I hate my body. Then you have the ladder thought I have a body. Then you have the goal thought of I love my body. Or maybe it’s this. Maybe it’s I can’t lose weight. I am losing weight. I can lose 50 pounds. Losing weight is possible. Or one of the bridge thoughts that really powerful for weight loss is I’m willing to consider that I can lose weight. It’s not that I can. I will. It’s that I’m willing to – I’m open to the idea that it’s possible for me to lose weight. 

Now, for those of you that are in the academy, and especially if you’re a tier one or tier two student, I want to make sure that you go into the membership. Go into the website and check that out because I’ve done some videos. Go to the video library and check it out. I’ve done a lot of videos on laddering thought, and that’s something you could check out if you want to dive into deeper. It’s a bit more of an advanced concept, and I give you lots of ideas about how to do that. 

But for the rest of you that are listening here on this podcast, what I really want you to think about is just find a middle neutral thought to land on to let your brain believe. Going from I can’t lose weight to losing weight as a possibility, that is true. Losing weight is a possibility. You may not be able to get to I can lose weight or I can lose 50 pounds because of the current belief system, because it may be very strong, and you’ve trained yourself to keep that as a strong thought. But if you begin to think losing weight is a possibility, it’s a nice little landing thought. It’s a nice middle belief that you can start to work on. 

Making more money, how about money? Making more money is a possibility, right? It’s likely that someone like me could make more money. These are bridge thoughts. These are ladder thoughts. You see what I’m saying. It’s like you’re gently easing yourself into that cognitive discomfort like the water between the two islands. Whether you jump into a swimming pool or whether you walk into it, so you have the water between the two islands, so you can let yourself go off the shore of that old belief system and into the water and then kind of like wade into it and then kind of float away and start swimming towards that island and move towards that new belief system. That’s coming up for you, rather than just jumping in and not knowing the temperature, not knowing the depth or whatever. 

I think understanding cognitive dissonance is one of the most powerful things that you can know, because otherwise you’re not understanding why going after your dreams feels so terrible and why giving up feels so good. Now, you know. You know that giving up feels good and going after your dreams feels terrible because your brain doesn’t like it. Your brain doesn’t like change. It doesn’t like striving. It doesn’t like new things. Now, what your brain does love is accomplishment, right? It’s a total contradiction I know and it sounds very interesting. It’s a very fascinating thing. Your brain hates change but it loves accomplishment. It doesn’t want you to get started. It doesn’t want you to set these big goals. It doesn’t want you to experience the cognitive dissonance. 

But as soon as you traverse the gap and you accept and embrace the new alpha model, then your brain gives you that accomplishment dopamine hit, and all of a sudden it’s all gravy baby. You know what I mean. So there is a reward waiting on the other side of it. You just have to be willing to go through the process of holding those two contradictory thoughts at the same time, until you can let go of the old one and truly embrace the new one. When you embrace a new belief system, it becomes as efficient and easy as the old one was. 

This is true. I know this from just from personal experience. I used to spend hours actively in anxiety and fear around money and around women, which was only a reflection of my beliefs around my self-worth. The self-loathing was a habit it was literally a habit that my brain was tuned into, locked into, and very efficient at. I spent a lot of time and discomfort to get to the new belief system that money and women are abundant. They’re constantly flowing to me and around me and that they’re tons of fun. I appreciate everything about both. There’s no more anxiety, there’s no more worry, and it comes so easily and natural to me now. 

In fact, when I have any kind of negative thoughts about myself, when I have any negative thoughts about money or any kind of negative experience at all, it’s so contradictory that that’s what causes the cognitive dissonance now. You see what I’m saying? My brain is so built around abundance now that any thought around a scarcity or worry or fear, that is what gives me the dueling cognition. That’s the cognitive dissonance. It’s like what used to cause me cognitive dissonance were the positive thoughts because I had a basis for negative thoughts, and now what causes me anguish is the cognitive dissonance that I have when I have a negative thought because I have a basis of positive thought. When you get to that point, then you can release all the negative thinking around that one area, whatever the circumstance is, whether it’s around money or whether it’s around women or whether it’s around health or whether it’s around buffering, like activities that you do. Your brain can be utilized to process and encourage more and more positive thinking in other areas of your life. That, my friend, ultimately is the goal is to transcend fear, to transcend illusion, and transcend scarcity. 

All right, brothers. Heavy topic today and really useful going into 2021 with impossible goals and New Year’s resolutions. Live an amazing life, my friends and until next week. Elevate your alpha.  


[00:26:11] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to this episode of The Alpha Male Coach Podcast. If you have enjoyed what you’ve heard and want even more, sign up for Unleash Your Alpha, your guide to shifting to the alpha mindset at thealphamalecoach.com/unleash.



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