Change is Good

I recently heard someone make the statement; “stability stifles change which in turn stifles innovation”.  Being a self-proclaimed “agent of change”, I have a knack for identifying problems, seeing possible solutions and then helping people make the change.  So, this statement really got me thinking!

I became conditioned for change growing up as a “military brat”.  We moved every 2 years or so and it was always exciting to find out where we were going next.  As I grew older, I began to thrive on change, I moved about once a year, not as a necessity but just for the sake of change.  I did the same in jobs as well.  Two years became my “tap out”.  I would become bored and ready for new faces and new challenges.  All of this created a flexible, adaptable, and self-confident, me.  Yes, there are some downsides but that’s a different article!  So, I am one of the rare ones that is not really bothered by change. 

However, by human nature most of us are resistant to change.  We strive for this “stability”.  Stability in our lives, business, community and yes, our government wants to provide us stability too.  But with stability comes a cost and is there really such a thing as maintaining stability?

Why do we resist it so?

Psychologically we are wired for fight or flight, we all know this and when faced with change we perceive it as a threat to our well-being and to our survival. That’s why people will go into protective behaviors or selfish behaviors that benefit them but not necessarily the greater good.

Yet change is necessary.  Change is constant – nothing stays the same.  Also, keep in mind that change is 30% logical and 70% emotional.

There are three key drivers of change:  People, Technology, and Information

People – there’s a lot of them and they’re producing like crazy!  People cause change.  They make stuff, come up with new ideas, compete for resources and it’s happening faster than ever before.  Here’s where the innovation comes to play.  If we had just stayed satisfied with the horse and buggy and said nope, that’s it, I’m good.  No change – stifles innovation, we’d all have a horse and buggy today.

Some people cling to the past.  They want what’s familiar, I call this my bubble where everything is just like I like it.  Change always means you’re going to have to give something up and the more it’s going to affect you personally the more you’re going to drag your feet.

How do we survive change?  It’s easier for me to tell you what not to do.

  • Decide not to change.  You can do this …. change is still going to happen around you.  You can resist and bring stress into your life while you hang on desperately to your old routines but this is a lost cause.  You may not like the change, but you do have a choice in how you react to change.
  • Act like a victim.  “Poor me”, life is unfair, the sacrifices you’ll be making and whose fault, is it?  Again, self-induced stress and a vicious cycle.  Acting like a victim threatens your future.
  • Let’s just push that change back into the bottle.  Trying to control the uncontrollable and “go down fighting”.  Grabbing at everything we see on the way down.  You have to ask yourself, is this something I can really control?  Accept what we can’t change.

Struggling to stabilize an ever-changing world is like trying to sweep water uphill.  You can give it all you’ve got but the minute you stop to catch your breath you lose control of the situation again.  You see …. stability is about control.  It’s a desire to stay in control of the things you’re certain about, the predictability of the status quo.

However, stability is not reality.  We need change for growth.

Allow a little confusion into your world.  Learn to “feel your way along” and “wing it” every now and again.

“This life is a test: it is only a test.  If it were a real life, you would receive instructions on where to go and what to do” – Unknown

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