Green Cross Code of Change

If I asked you to visualise a green cross, which way would you see it? Horizontal and vertical (+) or diagonally (x)?

If I asked you how do you see change, is it a positive thing or a negative thing, what would your answer be?

I asked myself these same questions. I chose horizontal and vertical (+) and I see change in a positive way. I always think if we keep doing the same thing, we always get the same results; but we can change one thing to make a big difference.

Then I started to look closer at the crosses and what they symbolised. To me , the horizontal and vertical cross is the ‘positive’ symbol or plus sign. It is also the medical symbol or first aid. The diagonal cross makes me think of when an answer was wrong in school and you would have an ‘X’ next to it, or a no entry sign, giving me the impression of it being a ‘negative’ symbol.

When young and being taught about how to cross the road safely, we learnt about the ‘green cross code’. As a child I always looked at the symbol for the green cross code (its an X) as being slightly negative in the way it needed respecting and to me at the time, it wasn’t particularly friendly. (I also thought the green cross code man was a little scary!) So, I decided to change it to a + symbol instead, paticularly as it looks more like a road to be crossed.

When teaching this to my son recently, it all came flooding back. First find a safe place to cross. Stop, look, listen, then cross but keep looking and listening. The more times we went over it, I started to realise that the code can also apply to making a change in our lives. I call it, The ‘Green Cross Code of Change’, and this is how we can use it…

So you want to make a positive change ‘to the other side of the road’ so to speak?

First find a safe place to cross. I see this as finding the right time in your current situation to commit to the change you want to make. This can play a vital role to the success or failure of the change.

Stop. We need to stop doing whatever it is we want to change first, in-order to start with the something new. When we change something in our lives, like a behaviour or a habit, we first need to understand that it was a learnt process in the first place. If we learn how to do something, we can also ‘un-learn’ it. But to do that, we need to have something to replace it with (ie. a new behaviour that you want to become the habit) However, its not like replacing a damaged chip in a computer circuit board where one is taken out and another put in to replace it and it all works fine. The new behaviour has to be learnt by practice, practice and more practice.

Look. This is a good time to look for opportunities to help with the change you are making, research it. Maybe try out the new behaviour when those opportunities arise. Look for information to help back up the new learning and other peoples success stories for inspiration.

Listen. Listen to the feedback you get, not just from those around you, but from your inner-self. Do an ecology check. Is it working? Are you proceeding in the right direction? Does it fit with your visualisation of your expectations? Do you need to adapt?

Cross. Once you have decided it is the right place and time to make a change, commit to it wholeheartedly. Don’t just ‘dip a toe’ in, or ‘I’ll see if it works’, or ‘I’ll try it’. As Yoda says in the movie Star Wars, ‘Do or do not, there is no try!’ If you don’t commit to that change it is less likely to happen, and you won’t achieve the outcome you are looking for. Commit to practicing that new change. Sometimes we need to exaggerate the new behaviour in our practice until it becomes easier, then with more practice the behaviour will become deeper embedded and more likely to stick and like second nature. This is when the old habit or behaviour has become obsolete and the new one has chance to shine.

Once you have ‘crossed your road’, keep looking forward, not backwards into the past, as that isn’t the way you are going!


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