Embracing Change In Our Lives
Change is inevitable. This is a fact of our existence and there is no progress without it. Quoting George Bernard Shaw “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. But the question is, what is it about change that makes it so important?
Change Doesn’t give A Damn
Change is a fact of our existence. There is nothing in the universe that stays the same from moment to moment. Even as I write this blog post and even as you read it, we are no longer the same with each passing moment. Cells within us are dying whilst others are born and we have a leak of sorts as sweat leaves our bodies.
It is the nature of existence that change is the only constant. This happens all around us and within us. A sobering fact about these changes however, is that nature does not require our permission to affect change.
It should be clear to anyone applying their mind to the problem of change that change will happen with or without you. Change in our personal or business lives does not give a damn, it does not wait for our permission to do its thing.
The best response to change in an uncertain world is to always seek out the best ways to respond to it. Since change will happen whether you like it or not, it is a great idea to be preemptive rather than reactive to it.
Being preemptive when dealing with change means formulating a strategy. The strategy is not as complicated as you might think. Of course the strategy differs depending on who is asking the question. Regardless of the differences in opinion on the matter, we should all be in agreement that the word action should be a key component of that strategy.
Since change will happen whether you like it or not, it stands to reason that you will be in a better place if you can at least anticipate the change. Anticipating change is the initial step in taking action to preempt change. The beauty of change is that rather than just anticipating it, we can also initiate change.
If you can anticipate, then you can act in good time to respond to change before you are facing a crisis. If you can anticipate, it means that you can also plan for the future and influence the direction that change in your life or business is going to take. Anticipating change is however not enough, we are in a better position dealing with change if we can also initiate it.
The Comfort Zone Ain’t A Place To Get Comfortable
Having established that change is inevitable and also crucial to our success in life, why is it that most of us find it difficult to initiate change? There are many reasons for this, such as the lack of resources. The lack of resources, as I will go into latter, is not too big a problem to prevent you from initiating change - it is only temporary.
The biggest problem that prevents people from initiating change is that they are too comfortable with the status quo. They are in their comfort zone.
Change is a scary prospect in many cases. When facing significant change, we are often also faced with significant unknowns. Because where we are at any given moment is familiar to us, we fear moving forward to face the unfamiliar. A lot of “what if” questions come to play and we are paralysed where we are. I describe fear in more detail in the blog post The Fear Of Failure Is The Fear Of Success.
I think of the word “comfort zone” as a misnomer; it sounds misleading. Even though it seems like the comfort zone is the place you need to be, don’t stay there. It is simply stealing from your success by robbing you of the possibilities, if only you could step out it. The comfort zone aint a place to get comfortable.
Change Is Not An Easy Thing To Initiate
Everyone, regardless of their personality or life experiences has had a difficult time initiating change. It is hard. Change takes numerous resources and resourcefulness to implement and even more to maintain.
In order to effectively initiate change, self-discipline is essential. You have to resolve to make the change and stick with it, no matter what. Times will always be there when you feel like you can not see your resolution through but that is the time to hunker down and follow through.
The importance of self-discipline can be easily demonstrated with how people make and often fail to keep their new year’s resolutions.
I personally do not make new year’s resolutions because I believe if you are to make a resolution, you do not have to wait till the new year to do it. But then people are different. For those who see promise in making new year’s resolutions, I am certain the reasons they did not follow through, if they didn’t, was due to lack of self-discipline.
Apart from self-discipline, the biggest challenge to affecting change, especially in business is a lack of resources. Many people would like to go into business on their own but they just do not have enough to do so. It may be capital that they need or a skilled complement of staff or a lot of other resources. In my view, you should be able to start what your heart desires even when everything is not in place and in time you will acquire all the resources you need.
Do not wait for the ideal situation where you have all that you require to affect change. The truth of the matter is that it will in all likelihood never be ideal because resources are always a scarce thing. Instead of waiting for the perfect situation, start with what you have and think of the process as an exercise in personal growth because you learn more when you have little to work with.
Everyone Needs To Change
When you learn to anticipate change or even initiate it, you have less stress in your life because you are always prepared. Stress comes about when there is a disconnect between what we perceive and the reality that is around us.
If we anticipate change, we become flexible enough to respond to any situation that comes our way regardless of how dire it is or how hopeless it seems. The more flexible you are, the better able will you be to respond to change.
Notice that responding to change in a way that creates less stress in our lives involves a change taking place within ourselves. In other words, in order to effectively respond to change, we ourselves have to change. Once we embrace change, we are in a position to experience personal growth.