Can People Truly Change?
“Past performance is the best predictor of future performance.” I learned this fundamental truth about people back in my days as a corporate recruiter. It was drilled into me through the interview training I received and built into the selection processes we used, the same selection processes used in many organizations today.
Yet, I have to admit, there’s been many times when I didn’t want to accept it as true. I wanted to believe people can change. That their past behavior doesn’t mean that’s how they will act in the future.
I’ve, at times, ignored this truth, because I wanted to trust people when they said they’ve changed. But, almost every time I’ve turned my back on this truth, I’ve regretted it.
Why? Because the truth is the truth – past performance is the best predictor of future performance – because most people don’t change.
But can this be the only truth about people? Is this the last word about what we can expect from others, from ourselves?
The answer is no, it’s not the only possibility. People can and do change. It’s rare, but it’s possible. But the second truth is this – people do not change by themselves. It requires something significant to happen to a person for true change to take place and cause a break from their past.
That “something significant” needs to go deep and rattle a person down to the core of their being, and in that place, true transformation happens. And always, at the center of this “something significant” is Jesus Christ, because it’s God who ultimately transforms lives, who grants people a lasting break from their past.
This is why I’ve committed my vocational life to Christian camping. Because Christian camps create those “something significant” experiences, where God steps in, goes down deep, rattles the core of a person, and leads them to a place of true transformation where the past is no longer a predictor of the future.