There’s one characteristic that most people share. They simply don’t like change. That’s why we wear the same twenty percent of our wardrobe over and over. That’s why we eat the same foods every week. And it’s why some people still have the same haircut they had in 1978.
We particularly don’t like change that really rocks our world – management shifts at work, unexpected election results, serious illness or death. Big changes cause big reactions. Change causes uncertainty. It makes us anxious and uncomfortable. Sometimes change feels downright scary.
Here are the 3 important things to remember about change:
1. Change is a normal and natural part of life.
Everything is in a constant state of change. Imagine if there was no change – no seasons, no growth, no day and night. Imagine if you were the exactly the same as you were 10 years ago. Nature likes change. Think about a pool of standing water. If it sits undisturbed for too long it becomes stagnant. Eventually it starts to grow things. Life is in flux: sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, but always in motion shifting into the next state.
2. Change is good for you.
There are a lot of benefits to change: we become more flexible, we learn, we experience variety, we develop resiliency. Change makes us better human beings.
3. Change is often out of your control.
Yes there are lots of changes that we initiate on our own. We paint the living room magenta. We start eating quinoa or chia. We try a new restaurant. But most of the time change happens around us without any of our input or influence. Much of the time we don’t notice it but if the change is big enough to catch our attention, we usually we don’t like it. When we feel like change is out of our control, we begin to mutter, or complain and often we automatically start imagining the worst case scenario. This change we don’t like will eventually lead to no good.
How can you manage change more easily?
First recognize when you are resisting change. It might show up as anger or denial or whining. Pause and notice that you don’t like what is happening. Naming it as resistance is the first step in proactively choosing another response.
Next control what you can, knowing that most things are out of your control. There’s no point complaining about things we have no direct influence over. That simply distracts us from the actions we can take and makes us feel helpless. Sometimes the only thing we have control over is our attitude and perspective, both of which can have a huge influence on our experience of what is happening.
Then imagine the best outcome, rather than the worst. When faced with a change, it’s easy for us to think something awful will happen, and then something even worse will happen and before you know it this change has led us to hell in a handbasket. Your thoughts direct your actions. If you are focused on all the negative things that might happen, you likely will miss the positive opportunities as they present themselves. Try hope-mongering instead of fear-mongering.
Victor Frankl said,
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Now is as good a time as any for a change in attitude about change.
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What changes do you resist?