“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” — Confucius
Change. Is that what Keeps You Awake at Night?
We’re often afraid of change because we’re afraid of the unknown. Even though we know that something needs to be changed, we cling to what is familiar. We would rather dance with the devil we know than with the one that we do not.
Life is full of changes. Some happen over time, while others come quickly and sometimes unexpectedly. In any event they happen and either we adapt or we struggle with them.
A good way to deal with the unknown is to think things through carefully, imagine all of the different possible outcomes, and then decide what would be the best- and worst-case scenarios. We then need to pick a path and follow it. Sometimes change is not as bad as it seems at first and may just take a little time to get used to.
When a change occurs, it’s important to figure out how much control over the situation you have.
Understanding this and how much the change can help or make things better may put things in perspective and ease your mind.
If an unwanted change is beyond our control, we should take a reflective approach. By accepting that there are things beyond our control, and choosing to be comfortable with that fact, we are likely to have a greater peace of mind than trying to fight an unwinnable war. We should view change as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a setback.
Try focusing on the positives can really us to manage the change. The positive aspects of a situation might not be obvious to begin with. We should look for these.
It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed if the change we are facing is really big, or there’s too much is happening all at once. To deal with it, we might need to seek advice or support from someone or someones.
We can look at some options for getting professional help. There are always professionals available to help.
“After living with their dysfunctional behavior for so many years (a sunk cost if ever there was one), people become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than changing them.” — Marshall Goldsmith Moj
Change is inevitable.
No matter how much we wish it wasn’t, things are changing regularly. Every minute, hour, day and year of our lives there is change going on. Not all of it directly affects us, but enough of it does.
Whether we accept the change and deal with it is totally up to us. But it is happening whether we want it or not. So either we do something about it or we will find it to be a constant source of concern and trouble.
We are not the same person we were yesterday. We continue to grow up and grow old. While we were once children just learning about the world around us, we are now a part of the world our children and our children’s children are learning about. We are no longer on the outside looking in. We are a part of the action.
When we were younger we looked forward to change.
We wanted to grow up and do things we weren’t able or allowed to do. At some point that stopped. We cannot pinpoint when and where that happened, but it did. All of a sudden we didn’t want to change anymore and we became resistant if not outright opposed to change. When and why did that happen? Who knows. It just did. Maybe having that child’s desire for more isn’t such a bad thing and we need to recapture it.
Not all change is good.
Too often in my career I saw change happening that I felt or knew was going to be detrimental. I was once asked to switch jobs, from heading my Project Engineering group to becoming the head of Plant Engineering. It wasn’t something I wanted, but I thought maybe there was a long term benefit to doing this.
I asked the person making the suggestion what would be next after that switch. He told me that I would probably go back to heading Project Engineering. That made no sense, If I wanted that then why not just stay there. I politely declined the offer.
At another point, we had a person join our company from a very large company. I wasn’t particularly impressed with him. He was a BSer and I am sure he had been fired from his previous employer.
He talked about making all sorts of changes at our company, most which made no sense and which I disagreed with. In speaking with my boss about him I realized that my boss was enamored with the corporate BS the guy was spewing.
I told my boss how I disagreed with much of what the fellow was saying. My boss told me that I was just being resistant to change. I told him if the change was being made for the right reason and would have a positive impact I had no problem. But if it was change just for the sake of change and could have an adverse impact, then yes I would be resistant.
Eventually the fellow screwed up royally and was fired. No surprise to me. And when he was gone the company found that they were on the hook for over $1 million in contracts he had signed without their knowledge or permission. The only good change from all of this was getting rid of him.
Although we cannot stop change, there are some things we can do to mitigate it especially when you know something about it is wrong, I would encourage you to do so.
As I previously mentioned, some is very good. Obviously, or we would still be living in caves, have never invented fire and we still clubbed animals for our daily meals.
The key is to understand the change we are faced with and to deal with it appropriately. If we do, some really good if not great things can happen. It is up to us as to how we handle things. But to wish that things stay exactly the same as they are is to be unrealistic and maybe even harmful.
There are many things in life that may cause us to stay awake at night. Change does not have to be one of them, if we handle it properly.