Embracing Change Part One

Some sayings go from cliché to platitude because despite being obvious, they’re true. People have been quoting Heraclitus as saying “the only constant is change” for around two and a half millennia because he was right. You really can’t step into the same river twice. Despite thousands of years of human understanding of the inevitability of change, we often fear and resist it. Scary though it often seems, the unknown, and the uncertainty that comes with the disruption of habit, can actually provide life-affirming opportunity. The key is not just managing to cope with change, but learning to embrace it as necessary. We’ll look briefly at a few points to bear in mind regarding personal change.

It’s all too easy to become too comfortable in a given situation- even a less than ideal one. Whether it feels reassuring to think things will remain as they are forever, or you’re agonizing in the deepest of ruts, the reality is that nothing is permanent. Stephen Hawking once said, “I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” Facing impermanence can be daunting. Accepting that things change, for better or worse, can be a challenge.

Without being confronted with challenges, though, it can be difficult to really know your own strengths. Even self-imposed disruptions of comfort can teach one to become more compassionate. If you can’t see past your own comfort zone, it can be difficult to relate to what others might be going through. This isn’t just warm, fuzzy new-age talk- the ability to empathize is essential to the ability to form relationships. Understanding how we might be able to help others, helps ourselves.

Sometimes, change is sudden. While it takes self-control to avoid knee-jerk reaction, keeping an even keel can be beneficial when facing the unexpected. While it may be tempting to go into crisis mode, a brief period of quiescence to process and calmly plan what to do next is rarely a bad idea when possible. It’s important to take positive action quickly, though the first action may be simply taking a step back to regroup. It’s often less about what happens to us, but how we choose to respond. Even positive change often comes with discomfort. It’s important to remember that discomfort may be the stimulus necessary to motivate us, ultimately leading us to flourish in a better situation.

Be realistic. Avoid denial. Keep sight of the bigger picture, but remember moving forward often involves small steps. Explaining some pretty heavy math, someone once pointed out to me that the most complex equations are nothing more than long strings of simple instructions. Avoid pessimism and remember- it’s impossible to be courageous without at least a little fear.

Change can compound in positive ways that could never materialize without a first push, good, bad or otherwise. Commit to making the most of the opportunity change affords. Bet on yourself. In the often-repeated words of W.H. Murray:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

To Read Embracing Change Part II CLICK HERE

Let Us Know What You Think