Knowing the Cause Doesn’t Change Behavior

Knowing the cause of a behavior may be interesting but has little to do with changing behavior to become more responsible.

People know when they act inappropriately, but KNOWING the motivation does not stop behavior—nor does it lead to a change in future behavior.

This realization is in direct opposition to many approaches aimed at determining the cause of a behavior—with the assumption that knowing the cause is necessary to change the behavior.

As compelling as it may be to know the motivation (the “Why?”) that prompts behavior, it is the action that will be taken—not the reason(s) for the action—that determines whether or not there will be a change.

Developing a procedure to direct behavior is a significantly more effective approach than attempting to find a cause for a behavior, in hopes that knowing the cause will prompt a change.

Cigarette smokers may know the reason(s) they started to smoke; they also know the repercussions that may result from their actions. But how effective is knowing these factors in changing behavior? Just ask a smoker.