Written by: Jeff Craig
Change. Change is something that occurs numerous times throughout our lives. Some situations of change are minor, hardly effecting our lives at all.
There is a new color on the bottle of shampoo you use, you get a tear on your favorite pair of jeans, the Barista who normally makes your coffee has been replaced by a big guy named Daryl. These changes are trivial, making it easy to adjust. Plus, Daryl gives you extra caramel in your Frappuccino.
Then there are the big changes. The life altering changes. The type of changes that lead you onto a different path. The end of a relationship, a new job opportunity, a permanent bodily injury. No matter how good or bad the change may be, they are always difficult. While some changes happen no matter what we do, some changes are within our control.
A big change in my life took place a few years ago when I moved out to Orange County. I had been living in the same area for nearly a decade. I would be moving away from all of the friends I had made. I was done with school and faced with the challenge of going out into the grown up world and making a name for myself. I had gotten a new job that offered a more abundant lifestyle along with an immeasurable amount of pressure to succeed. And to top it off, I was single for the first time in six years with no idea how to talk to women. It was one of the most nerve wracking times of my life and making the decision to take this leap was not easy.
It is in our human nature to avoid change, to maintain our homeostasis (or routine). Even good change in our lives can cause anxiety, making it hard to accept. As a result, people often sabotage themselves to avoid change and don’t even realize it.
The reason people avoid change is because the life they are living now is comfortable. They know, no matter how good or bad their situation is, they can handle it. They have been living this life for long enough, it has become manageable. Introducing a new stimulus could cause instability, making it undesirable.
People avoid change in many ways. Losing weight, going for a promotion, taking the next step in a relationship. The unfortunate piece of this is they want the change, but the fear of “rocking the boat” prevents them from letting it happen. Some even take the first step, but retreat as soon as they see any sign of instability to their normal every day routine.
Unfortunately, some changes occur outside of our control. I would never wish a bad experience on anyone. However, they happen to all of us at several points in our lives. Although we wish we could control, the fact still stands that there are some things that are simply out of our control.
The truth is, change is always good. Sure, some changes can come with sadness, disappointment, or difficulties. Despite this, every change offers a new opportunity to learn, grow, become more than we are, even the negative ones. Some things can only be learned through tragedy.
A lot of the times, it’s the tragedies that rise us into greatness.
Usually when I have this conversation with people, this is the point that they start questioning my sanity.
I will repeat myself. Change is ALWAYS good. The issue we have as humans is we look at a situation as either good or bad. I won the lottery. That’s good. I got into a fender bender. That’s bad. The problem is, life is not black and white. The way change is perceived is dependent on YOU. Isn’t that empowering? You have complete control of how a change in your life is perceived.
I look back at all my greatest accomplishments and realize they were achieved through change. In contrast, every time I have taken the comfortable road, although I avoided any negative change, nothing amazing had ever happened. In fact, many positive opportunities were missed because I chose to avoid change.
Change is what you make of it. You can choose to embrace it as an opportunity to learn and evolve, or you can avoid it. Sometimes, staying in the same place holds us back from better, more fulfilling experiences.
If there is something you’ve been holding onto because you’ve been afraid of change, I challenge you to let it go. If you’ve experienced something tragic, let it go. You cannot undo it, but you can grow from it. By choosing to embrace change, you put yourself on a path that only leads to the top.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
– Charles Darwin