Can You Spare Some Change?

“The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”  — Isaac Asimov

Change* is inevitable.  Change is hard.  Change is scary.  Change is difficult.  Or does it really have to be hard, scary and difficult?  Maybe change can be a joyous, wonderful discovery?

We often make unexamined assumptions about the events in our lives and their likely consequences.  But I have been proven wrong about my assumptions so many times that I’ve come to the conclusion that our assumptions are really just choices based on whether we view events with optimism or pessimism.  We too frequently mindlessly buy-into sometimes counterproductive positions such as “change is hard/scary” when we can really choose a healthier interpretation of an inevitable or necessary change.

These mindless assumptions we make are also self-fulfilling.  If we assume change will be hard, then our resistance to the inevitable or to making a necessary change just makes the transition more difficult.

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” M. Scott Peck

I don’t believe I have been any more change-receptive or change-adverse than the next gal.  Most of the time it took fairly drastic measures to break through my denial and allow me to see that the consequences of maintaining the status quo was worse than the change itself. Only then could I do or accept what was inevitable or necessary.   This was true pretty true much across all aspects of my life – nothing was immune from my denial.

But each time, I have found when I have made a necessary change (or accepted the inevitable), it was never as bad as I expected.  In fact, there were instances when the change was so profoundly liberating that I could not imagine in hindsight why I was so resistant to the change in the first place.  Clearly, I was the one making the change unnecessarily difficult.

My most recent major change was divorce after a 20 year marriage.  The degree of liberation I felt, both physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically was unbelievable.   In my wildest fantasies I could not have predicted how much better I’d feel, and that I could channel that time and energy to explore and invest in myself and discover my life’s passion.  I felt like I was reborn and 10 years younger.

So here’s the problem with resisting change:  During my state of resisting, I could neither envision nor be receptive to the range of opportunities that could result from the change.  If I only focus on my fear and pessimism, I will create the worst-case scenario I most fear.  If I envision and act on the best possible scenario, and am open to the unknown, I may go places beyond which I was able to dream.

“There are more places in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”  – William Shakespeare

*Other reading about change:  Change Agent, You, Growth and Change:  The Human Symphony


Change, for a change

Change, for a change