The Inconvenience of Change: The Sour Grapes of Lost Control [Chelsie Guillemet]

you hold change in the palm of your handWithout change, where would we be?

As I read over your fantastic perspectives on change, I have to ask why we need so much help dealing with it. I mean, literally speaking, change is the continuation of life. No matter your perspective, you can’t ignore how change started the world’s engines-without it, you wouldn’t have breathed your first breath-or how it fuels our survival by providing ample scenarios for adaptation. Change is so pre-historically natural to life that we couldn’t possibly live here without acknowledging and accepting it; yet we seem to have trouble digesting it.

The initiator of change seems to be time. When Time began, it released a dynamic process of change called growth, which is equally unavoidable. There’s physical (read: biological) growth that develops Nature’s ability to survive; intellectual and emotional growth that allows man to recognize, and also resist, inherent realities like “change”; and there’s societal growth (or regression, if you’re so-inclined) that causes change in human systems like religion, culture, and nationalism. Growth exists due to the reality of change, and the forward-moving nature of Time.

Growth is the result of change over time

Let’s put two and two together. If growth is the result of change over time, doesn’t it seem silly for us to be afraid of change (and the passage of time)? I mean, we’re growing here! Isn’t that a good thing? So why do we resist it?

I think people actually want change-and we know we need it for survival, but another consequence of intellectual and emotional growth is this egocentric need for control. We LOVE it. In fact, we hate time to rush on without it, which means we have to control everything in our wee worlds. And most of the time, it just doesn’t work out the way we’d like. So, we hate the change instead of examining the way we handled it. Interestingly enough, we can have control, but not in the manipulative way we think of it. I’m saying that we can play god (gasp!), but only over ourselves. I’ll get back to that.

We’re now-people. It’s obvious, and you’ll definitely agree that our culture and its inventions give us every opportunity to continue in the “now” vein. So it follows that we don’t like giving change the chance to flesh itself out and reveal its direction. Nope. We want to control the movement of change. We’d love to stop it when it looks nice to us or pick and choose its results.

For instance, if I want a new car I’d be foolish to think my end of the deal stops at the sale. I have to think about gas, maintenance, title registration and renewal, and keeping it clean. The same with a house, going to school, getting a job, having kids (especially this one!)…even down to how we eat, what we do for exercise, and what we put into our minds.

In each area of life, our decisions tend to follow the same pattern. We like the immediate result of change, but often not its patiently waiting consequences. But with more forethought to each matter of change, we get a taste for what follows, we can see the reaction of our action! Brilliant!

Much like whether or not fearing change is rational, the responsibility of forethought (or, preparation) is something else for which we’ve received ill-instruction. But hey, there’s a remedy for that craziness:

Responsibility is the wonder drug for fear of change. Here’s how it works:

Fate? Free will? What about choice?

It’s my responsibility to choose what I think, how I feel, and what I do. See, I told ya you can play god. ;) I choose-and have a responsibility to choose- whether or not I allow certain harmful thought processes to continue, and I want to control them because I know how they make me feel. Controlling my thoughts links to controlling my feelings. I like to feel happy, loved, peaceful, and confident, so I dissolve anxious, fearful, insecure thoughts. This takes practice, I assure you, and comes more naturally to some than others as our various upbringings have programmed us toward certain thought patterns.

When you understand controlling your choice of thoughts, feelings, and actions, you stop letting circumstances affect you. Instead, you affect your circumstances. Choosing how you think, feel, and do is choosing your situation. Your chosen reaction to unforeseen circumstances is as much in your hands as any direct action. You’ll find that the more you can control yourself, the more accustomed you become to foreseeing your circumstances’ reactive consequences-and thus, the more comfortably you handle change.

You can choose not to let change affect you negatively. But you have to want to see truth in that. It’s an easy cop-out to say, it’s natural for me to feel fearful when things change, it’s natural for me to want things to stay the same. But what is natural, honestly? A stagnant environment? Or the ability to navigate the ebb and flow of change in our lives? If you need a reference, look at nature and take heart in its long experience. :)

ChelsieAUTHOR BIO: Chelsie and I met during our collegiate studies here in Nashville – crossing paths during our philosophical in-class discussions on Joseph Campbell, the journey of the hero, and the philosophy of the Matrix. She has an unmatched passion for life, and expresses herself beautifully through her writing and music. As an aspiring songwriter and musician, you can discover all that Chelsie has to offer over at her website – and all of you reading this should go give her a follow on Twitter.

Change: Stop Resisting and Start Soaring! [Susan Pogorzelski]

Soar through life!

Change scares me.

Most people I know are afraid of snakes or spiders or heights. But for me, these things are simple nuisances, minor annoyances that I can deal with.

Loss. Failure. Uncertainty. These are all abstract things I can’t reason, sometimes can’t understand, and most certainly can never control.

These are the things that scare me.

And these tend to be a product of change.

Doctors and scientists agree that people tend to have one of two reactions when placed in a threatening situation: adrenaline tells them to either fight or take flight. I’ve always perceived change as my greatest threat for what I thought it meant. And so my first impulse has always been to fight that change, kicking and screaming every step of the way, trying whatever I could to hang on to what I had,  to prevent that change from happening. I always associated change with something bad.

When we look back, my parents and I can point my panic disorder all the way back to kindergarten, where I would abruptly burst into tears at the very thought of my mom leaving me. But it wasn’t until my junior year in high school that it really came back in full-force, affecting me, impacting my life in such a negative way.

Nearly every single day for an entire semester I would leave my house for the less than five mile drive to school. And every single day I would turn the car around and drive back home, a sense of overwhelming despair and shaking fear clouding my mind and removing any semblance of rational thought. I was nearly eighteen years old at the time. I felt like I was four again as I retreated to the safest place I knew, begging my dad not to leave for work, begging my mom not to make me leave the house. The problem wasn’t where I was going but, rather, what I would be leaving. I feared that something would happen, something would change, and I wouldn’t be ready for it, wouldn’t be prepared.

This irrational, emotional part of me believed that if I remained in my comfort zone, then maybe I could somehow prevent whatever change was looming ahead from actually happening; I thought I could somehow remain safe and cocooned with everyone safe and cocooned with me.

Sometimes, though, there is loss that you can’t prevent, no matter how much you beg or pray or how secure your cocoon seems to be. Sometimes there is disappointment and regret and failure no matter how much you plan.

Sometimes things happen that you can’t predict, that you can’t ever be ready for.

With change, maybe you never really are.

But maybe, just maybe, life isn’t really about that, after all.

The idea of change used to scare me because it was something I couldn’t control and I always associated it with loss, failure, and uncertainty. But now I see that change doesn’t have to be equated with fear, but rather opportunity.

Some of my greatest learning experiences and proudest accomplishments have occurred due to a change I wasn’t entirely prepared for, but I pushed through that fear anyway. And it has sometimes taken all of my strength and courage and every last member of my support network, and I may have resisted it all the way, but what I’ve found is that once I accept it, once that fear and anticipation passes, once the change comes, as it always does, I’m able to pick myself up and continue on.

I fight change every single step of the way.

But when I stop resisting, when I open myself up to the possibility…That’s when I soar.

Photo courtesy McMorr

Susan (twentyorsomething)Author Bio: Susan, in a nutshell, is a passionate and inspirational writer, and more importantly an amazing person. With all this talk about personal blogging vs. personal branding, she seamlessly is able to blur that line and relate her personal experiences with the ‘big picture’. She is an avid writer at her blog(s) Typescript and Twenty(or)Something – I encourage you to check out both, and if you haven’t already, reach out and say hello to Susan today!

Inconvenience of Change: The Problem with Tomorrow

Most change agents out there are dreamers at heart. We dream the kinds of dreams that you can only dream when awake, and most of these dreams have one central theme: tomorrow can be better than today.Today is a New Day

It was Robert Kennedy who first put into words what most of us dreamers think about each day when he so appropriately said that we think about things that aren’t and ask, “Why not?” And whether we’re dreaming of a day when genocide ends or a day when people no longer go hungry in America, we can’t help but think that tomorrow will be a better day, one full of possibility and hope, one that is a future worth working for.

But here’s the downside of dreaming: When we spend so much time thinking about tomorrow, it’s very tempting to say that we’ll get around to it…tomorrow.

Before we know it, tomorrow’s today. And then we keep dreaming of a better tomorrow and put off the real work it’s going to take until – you guessed it – tomorrow.

Maybe this is why real change takes so long. Maybe this is why productive and meaningful advances seem to happen at a snail’s pace. It’s because so much of what gets talked about and dreamed up has to wait.

Until tomorrow. Maybe then change we’ll be convenient. Because it’s super inconvenient and so damn hard today.

So what’s a dreamer to do? How can we look favorably upon tomorrow while reminding ourselves that we’ve got to act today?

For me, it’s wrapped up in a simple five-word phrase: “Today is a new day.”

Before Starbucks put that message on its front doors, our friend Jen Lemen did so in colorful artwork. And for Jen (and us), what follows on that poster is a friendly kick in the stomach. Yes, today is a new day – but it will be just like yesterday if we don’t get busy changing things.

If we don’t embrace kindness.

Or practice compassion, stand up for justice or talk to strangers.

If we don’t ask for help and offer hope.

If we don’t listen with our whole heart, work for the common good or love well.

Everything will stay the same if we don’t try and be the change we wish to see in the world.

So, folks, we’ve got to get busy. Today. Now. Like, right now.

Change is inconvenient because it demands we act today. If we want a cathedral of better tomorrows, her foundation must be laid today.

Sam DavidsonAUTHOR BIO: Sam Davidson, aside from being the man kind enough to be giving away free copies of his book New Day Revolution to all of those involved in the Inconvenience of Change series, is the founder and CEO of Cool People Care. Sam epitomizes what it means to be a social entrepreneur – serving the added bottom line of giving back to community efforts and raising awareness daily. It’s an honor and a privilege to have him as a contributor here and more importantly, to have as a friend.