There are only a few things in life that are truly constant: death, taxes, and change.
I have been thinking a lot about change.
Change is inevitable. Change is constant. – Benjamin Disraeli
Change is a constant in life that is expected but can be surprising at times when it occurs. Depending on your perspective, it could be seen as good or bad. It holds endless possibilities. It is something that frightens even the strongest, biggest, and bravest of men.
Many people fear change, whether it is as simple as trying a new pizza topping or more difficult like packing up and moving across the country. The fear of the unknown, the thought that we as humans have no choice in the way that our lives unfold, the reality that our lives are one way one day but different the next: it’s enough to make one feel as though they’re not standing on stable ground.
Change can be a vehicle for learning and growth, but it can also cause some to dig deeper into the sand and cover their heads and hide.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” – John Maxwell
When new opportunities arise we can agonize over whether to stick with the familiar or to hop onto the next train taking us towards an unforeseen future. As the saying goes, the devil you know may be better than the devil you don’t. Is it wiser to take a leap into the unknown or to stay comfortable and safe exactly in the same spot?
Some people welcome change. Every so often a change can do us good. It can be a necessary push needed to get out of a rut we’ve been stuck in. Sometimes changes can remove us from a bad situation and into a better one. Sometimes change can lead to success and open up doors you never dreamed possible.
“Change is painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” -Mandy Hale
What to do?
When facing change straight in the face, one can agonize over the right path to choose. How do we know things will turn out okay? How does one know that they’re not about to make a monumental mistake? How does one know that a choice made isn’t the stupidest decision of their life; and conversely, how does know a choice wasn’t the best decision they’d ever make?
“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” -Hugh Prather
Unfortunately, without a crystal ball or the ability to tell the future, the knowledge of what will happen to each and every one of us is not able to be foreseen. Only in hindsight are we able to know whether a change has been positive or negative, a choice good or bad. In the end, we may regret a change or the choices that lead to a change and sometimes we may rejoice in them.
I myself would like to think that change isn’t something to be feared, but I can’t help but feel otherwise at times. It’s human nature.
Recently, a family member of mine found out that some blood work they’d had done didn’t return favorable results and that she’d need to talk with her physician. Worry over the endless possibilities that could result from a bad test result and potentially a new diagnosis is taxing, not only hard for that person but for family too.
This situation scared me personally. There were many nights where I lay awake wondering about the outcome and worrying about the potential negative consequences. Would my children grow up knowing this lovely person, or would they miss the love and joy this person brings to so many people’s lives?
A or B?
In another scenario, a friend of mine has been plagued with worry, uncertain how to decide between two choices. If he chose to follow path A, it could turn out to be an incredible opportunity for his career and could result in almost guaranteed financial security – and he knew that if he didn’t choose to follow that path he may regret it forever. But on the other hand, choosing path A could be a well-intentioned mistake that would be hard to recover from.
If he chose to go down path B, he would stay relatively within his comfort zone, but with the knowledge that sooner rather than later the people higher up could shake things up and eliminate his position or the need for his position.
Choices, choices, choices
The choice became even more complicated because many of his friends began to jump ship one by one. Always the empathetic and thoughtful friend, he began to feel as though choosing to leave may cripple the remaining crew left aboard the ship or accelerate the inevitable changes that would rock his comfort zone at an uncomfortably faster rate.
“Growth and comfort do not coexist.” – Ginni Rometty
How does one make a difficult choice like this? By thinking about it night and day, by repeatedly going over and over each possibility to the most finite detail? By trying to think multiple moves ahead like in a game of chess? By playing eeny, meany, miny, moe? By flipping a coin? By closing one’s eyes and just taking a leap?
Honestly, I don’t know.
At times, change can be the easiest when one recognizes the need for change and makes an effort to do what they can to facilitate changes. I have been examining my own life, health, and fitness. I recognize the need for my own personal change.
Change before you have to. – Jack Welch
I know that I am carrying too much weight and do not have healthy eating habits. I know that I need to exercise more. As a parent, I need to be a healthy, body positive example for my children. I also know that my sister recently found out that she has high cholesterol and I know there are other hereditary problems like diabetes and heart disease on both sides of my family. As in the quote by Jack Welch above, I need to make a change and I need to do it now- to keep from developing a problem that will necessitate change, like diabetes, in the future.
Play the game
In the end, I think that we must take on the changes that come at us in life with courage, acceptance, and the will to be proactive in directing the changes to be more advantageous to us, rather than to just sit back and allow change carry us where it may, like driftwood in the tide. Approaching change by resenting and resisting is not good for anyone. Rolling the dice and not knowing how it all will play out is just part of the game of life, but one can approach change strategically to attempt the best outcome.
What’s your approach when it comes to change?
Leave me some comments!