What Will You Choose? (The Inconvenience of Change)

Change, the only true constant in our lives they say.

When I ponder this question I think back to all the times that I could have changed, should have changed but didn’t change. Upon reflection I realize that the choices I made NOT to change had a direct impact on the results that soon followed. In some areas I’ve still not changed. I’ve struggled on and off with my weight for years, those pesky turbulent 20lbs. I can sit and blame my genes, my hectic work schedule, my parents, my husband for bringing home lots of goodies to snack on and the list would go on. The truth is the only person I can really blame though is me. I’m responsible for the results I see in my life today whether financial, social, health, career wise, relationships. I am.

So why don’t we change? Taking my weight as an example, I’ve had all the logical, rational reasons to change. I’ve recently had a few health scares related to my not-so-healthy lifestyle which prompted me to change. Also, recently turning 30 made me think long and hard about my eating and exercise (or lack of). One day soon I’d like to have children and I know I MUST change in order to be healthy for them. It all sounds logical, makes sense, no doubt about it. The sad fact is I haven’t really changed despite all of that. My diet still consists of a lot of rubbish food and as for exercise – let’s not even go there! This makes me dig deeper and realize that “wanting” to change has nothing to do with logic!

We’re not in Kansas anymore

A mentor shared with me that when change is imposed on us, it carries a sense of loss of control. In order for a change effort to really succeed it must have our complete and total commitment which is not always a rational thing. Change is disorienting and a departure from the familiar. Hook it to emotions and you may start to get somewhere.

It makes no sense at all. An irrational fear with no substance. I’m afraid of actually realizing my goal and having to live up to those expectations. I realize that this fear is based on “beliefs” I pitch to myself and convince myself to hold as true. Misery really loves company and majority rules in the end. It’s always easier to be part of the griping pack, the pity parties and the victim fests rather than take the reigns and take full responsibility. Only when we consciously decide to take ownership of our problems, challenges, and fears can we begin to make progress towards long and lasting change.

I guess we’re also afraid of change because we worry too much about what others think, “what will they say”, how will they view us now, what label will they give us. Only when we stop worrying about that mindless noise and really focus on the cause we’re striving for will we make any concrete steps towards change. In retrospect, change really has been the only constant in my life. From my school years, moving from country to country, studying abroad, tackling different subjects, changing careers from architecture to media & communications to HR in less than a decade! To marrying my husband who is literally from the other side of the world. Has it always been easy and smooth, absolutely NOT. Has it helped me grow as a person – without a doubt.

We always have a choice

Even in the most dismal of circumstances we still have a choice. I can choose to be invisible at work and get trampled on or I can choose to be vocal about my achievements, choose to get involved in initiatives and choose to make a difference. All of this involves changing my perceptions, stepping outside comfort zone island and adapting my behavior. As Gandhi so rightly said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. There are two camps, the doers and the sayers. Many people can talk about what it’s like to do so and so, but how many actually go out there and take the plunge? Which side are you on? Go out there and “Just Do It”!

Shereen QutobAUTHOR BIO: Shereen comes to us all the way from Dubai. The two of us met a few months ago via Twitter. Since then, she’s been a big contributor here and I’ve been urging her to launch a blog of her own. A great writer and an awesome person to get to know, I recommend everyone reading this to take a few minutes to follow her on Twitter and introduce yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

Join the conversation! 42 Comments

  1. Great post! I think definitely being afraid to change because of the expectations you have to live up to is a big problem. And I totally agree: sometimes, you just have to go for it if you want to change. But really, this begs the question — how do you make people take that leap? How can you help people cross that boundary between apathy and action? What can we do to reduce fear? I think it’s easy for us to recognize that it is hard but we have to change, but it’s harder to find the solutions..

    Reply
    • @Akhila thank you for the support! I am really psyched to be part of this fantastic series. Again kudos to Matt for envisioning this!

      I completely understand what you’re saying, it is much easier for us to admit how hard it is to change and even to fully “know” we must change, yet we continue to be apathetic.

      “Why is that?” – is the reason I guess we’re collectively trying to decipher through our many different voices on this series! In my case I believe at some level it is in fact a fear of realizing success, something I am currently working on with a coach. It really helps to enlist the help of an objective person who can really challenge you and hold you accountable.

      Reply
  2. Great post! I think definitely being afraid to change because of the expectations you have to live up to is a big problem. And I totally agree: sometimes, you just have to go for it if you want to change. But really, this begs the question — how do you make people take that leap? How can you help people cross that boundary between apathy and action? What can we do to reduce fear? I think it’s easy for us to recognize that it is hard but we have to change, but it’s harder to find the solutions..

    Reply
    • @Akhila thank you for the support! I am really psyched to be part of this fantastic series. Again kudos to Matt for envisioning this!

      I completely understand what you’re saying, it is much easier for us to admit how hard it is to change and even to fully “know” we must change, yet we continue to be apathetic.

      “Why is that?” – is the reason I guess we’re collectively trying to decipher through our many different voices on this series! In my case I believe at some level it is in fact a fear of realizing success, something I am currently working on with a coach. It really helps to enlist the help of an objective person who can really challenge you and hold you accountable.

      Reply
  3. @Shereen – you may be new to the blogging game, but you’ve fooled me and (I’m sure) everyone else who takes the time to read this. I see the concept of change as an onion, there are many layers that you’re able to peel away to reach one ‘truth’ – and that truth is different for each one of us.

    A mentor shared with me that when change is imposed on us, it carries a sense of loss of control. In order for a change effort to really succeed it must have our complete and total commitment which is not always a rational thing. Change is disorienting and a departure from the familiar. Hook it to emotions and you may start to get somewhere.

    This is one of THE most powerful paragraphs of this entire series thus far. Why are people reluctant to change? Why are we afraid of trying something new? Because there is that sense of ‘chaos’ – our balance and control is altered, our foundation is shaken. Whether we admit it or not, we all value routine and regularity, change…well, changes that, it forces us to think differently, act differently, fall victim to vulnerability and criticism. In short, it takes guts and bravery, something that some people just cant find within themselves.

    I’m afraid of actually realizing my goal and having to live up to those expectations.

    This is one of those ‘new layers’ – the fear of success – the fear of setting expectations and then having to live up to them. I think it’s something that, probably all of us are faced with. Everyone always tells us to set high goals and strive to be more. Well, that can be a scary thought – lower expectations mean less to live up to, less pressure, and less criticism from everyone else. Akhila brings up a good question. What can we do to reduce the fear? How can we clear a path towards change and personal fulfillment when there are so many obstacles in our way?

    It’s a question that I, and probably no one here has a clear answer to. But, with each post, with each new voice, another piece of the puzzle falls into place, a step is taken toward each of us looking within ourselves to do more, be more, and try harder.

    Thanks for this post Shereen, nice work!

    Reply
    • @Matt where do I begin! Thank you, thank you, thank you sincerely for pulling me into this series. Your kind words have really touched me and are indeed an inspiration for me to continue writing and work on that blog project!

      Your onion metaphor is so spot on! Yes, there are many many layers hidden and at each phase of the change cycle we uncover a different layer that leads us to think, act, and feel a certain way and work towards uncovering the next layer and the next.

      Someone recently shared with me that only when we reach and experience that level of discomfort, chaos and disorientation do we know that we are headed in the right direction, and it is indeed the right time for change.

      A quote I’d like to share that I’ve recently held on to through some massive changes at work: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You MUST do the thing you “think” you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

      Two take aways here – confront the fear head on (or as my dear brother would say “feel the fear and charge like a rhino!”) and most of what holds us back are “thoughts” and voices we tell ourselves, not facts.

      Like you said with every post we are getting closer to decoding this puzzle and learning and growing throughout the process.

      Reply
      • @Shereen – I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m currently going through a crazy whirlwind of disorientation as we speak, a lot of stuff going on – and it’s all thanks to CHANGE. Changing things in my personal life, making big decisions, you know, things that would typically make people question themselves. ‘Am I doing the right thing? What am I going to do if everything doesn’t work out?’ – It’s a pretty scary thing, but I’m trying to ‘be the rhino’ here and charge forward, facing my fear and doubt head on.

        Most of the doubts, most of the worry all comes from within – as you said, it’s me telling myself I can’t do it. We shape and form our own realities and as a result, have to break free from them.

        Again, great post Shereen. Now that you’ve seen the response, are you ready to embark on your own blogging journey? :)

        Reply
  4. @Shereen – you may be new to the blogging game, but you’ve fooled me and (I’m sure) everyone else who takes the time to read this. I see the concept of change as an onion, there are many layers that you’re able to peel away to reach one ‘truth’ – and that truth is different for each one of us.

    A mentor shared with me that when change is imposed on us, it carries a sense of loss of control. In order for a change effort to really succeed it must have our complete and total commitment which is not always a rational thing. Change is disorienting and a departure from the familiar. Hook it to emotions and you may start to get somewhere.

    This is one of THE most powerful paragraphs of this entire series thus far. Why are people reluctant to change? Why are we afraid of trying something new? Because there is that sense of ‘chaos’ – our balance and control is altered, our foundation is shaken. Whether we admit it or not, we all value routine and regularity, change…well, changes that, it forces us to think differently, act differently, fall victim to vulnerability and criticism. In short, it takes guts and bravery, something that some people just cant find within themselves.

    I’m afraid of actually realizing my goal and having to live up to those expectations.

    This is one of those ‘new layers’ – the fear of success – the fear of setting expectations and then having to live up to them. I think it’s something that, probably all of us are faced with. Everyone always tells us to set high goals and strive to be more. Well, that can be a scary thought – lower expectations mean less to live up to, less pressure, and less criticism from everyone else. Akhila brings up a good question. What can we do to reduce the fear? How can we clear a path towards change and personal fulfillment when there are so many obstacles in our way?

    It’s a question that I, and probably no one here has a clear answer to. But, with each post, with each new voice, another piece of the puzzle falls into place, a step is taken toward each of us looking within ourselves to do more, be more, and try harder.

    Thanks for this post Shereen, nice work!

    Reply
    • @Matt where do I begin! Thank you, thank you, thank you sincerely for pulling me into this series. Your kind words have really touched me and are indeed an inspiration for me to continue writing and work on that blog project!

      Your onion metaphor is so spot on! Yes, there are many many layers hidden and at each phase of the change cycle we uncover a different layer that leads us to think, act, and feel a certain way and work towards uncovering the next layer and the next.

      Someone recently shared with me that only when we reach and experience that level of discomfort, chaos and disorientation do we know that we are headed in the right direction, and it is indeed the right time for change.

      A quote I’d like to share that I’ve recently held on to through some massive changes at work: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You MUST do the thing you “think” you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

      Two take aways here – confront the fear head on (or as my dear brother would say “feel the fear and charge like a rhino!”) and most of what holds us back are “thoughts” and voices we tell ourselves, not facts.

      Like you said with every post we are getting closer to decoding this puzzle and learning and growing throughout the process.

      Reply
      • @Shereen – I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m currently going through a crazy whirlwind of disorientation as we speak, a lot of stuff going on – and it’s all thanks to CHANGE. Changing things in my personal life, making big decisions, you know, things that would typically make people question themselves. ‘Am I doing the right thing? What am I going to do if everything doesn’t work out?’ – It’s a pretty scary thing, but I’m trying to ‘be the rhino’ here and charge forward, facing my fear and doubt head on.

        Most of the doubts, most of the worry all comes from within – as you said, it’s me telling myself I can’t do it. We shape and form our own realities and as a result, have to break free from them.

        Again, great post Shereen. Now that you’ve seen the response, are you ready to embark on your own blogging journey? :)

        Reply
  5. Shereen, I’m so glad you’re part of this series! You impart some valuable wisdom here. “Only when we stop worrying about that mindless noise and really focus on the cause we’re striving for will we make any concrete steps towards change.” You make a great point. I think one of the obstacles to change is that we have to put ourselves first. We have to ignore the critics and the naysayers and do what’s best for ourselves, and that’s very difficult for people. So, combine that with the daunting idea of change, and it’s like a double edged sword.

    But, you also bring up something most people probably haven’t thought of: change has been a constant in your life. The same is true for me, and what I realized after reading this is that I have confronted and overcome change a lot more than I realized. So, thanks for that revelation. Great post!

    Reply
    • @Sam I’m really happy to be part of this series too! Very exciting to “meet” and have a real dialogue with like minded people literally worlds apart, what an amazing thing this social media is!

      Even while writing the post I also came to realize that – hey, I’ve actually dealt with a fair share of change throughout my life and have always ended up landing on my feet. In a way it was a revelation for me too!

      My weakness has always been worrying about what “they” will say and I’ve sabotaged my own progress many a time because of this silly mind chatter. This is the time to be bold, brave and brazen!

      Reply
  6. Shereen, I’m so glad you’re part of this series! You impart some valuable wisdom here. “Only when we stop worrying about that mindless noise and really focus on the cause we’re striving for will we make any concrete steps towards change.” You make a great point. I think one of the obstacles to change is that we have to put ourselves first. We have to ignore the critics and the naysayers and do what’s best for ourselves, and that’s very difficult for people. So, combine that with the daunting idea of change, and it’s like a double edged sword.

    But, you also bring up something most people probably haven’t thought of: change has been a constant in your life. The same is true for me, and what I realized after reading this is that I have confronted and overcome change a lot more than I realized. So, thanks for that revelation. Great post!

    Reply
    • @Sam I’m really happy to be part of this series too! Very exciting to “meet” and have a real dialogue with like minded people literally worlds apart, what an amazing thing this social media is!

      Even while writing the post I also came to realize that – hey, I’ve actually dealt with a fair share of change throughout my life and have always ended up landing on my feet. In a way it was a revelation for me too!

      My weakness has always been worrying about what “they” will say and I’ve sabotaged my own progress many a time because of this silly mind chatter. This is the time to be bold, brave and brazen!

      Reply
  7. Shereen,I love how you’re talking about what other people think. Often times it really seems it’s the secret that people are worried about what others think. A lot of people are afraid to admit it, but this is something that can greatly sway the process of change, depending on the individual of course.

    I’m so happy you’re part of the series, this is a great post!

    Reply
    • @Grace Thank you! Really cool to be sharing this experience with all of you!

      I know what you mean; I was talking to some friends/colleagues recently about what they’re really afraid of and why they won’t change (habits, behaviors, careers etc) and a similar theme surfaced about how they’re afraid “people” will find out that they’re not really as good as they think they are.

      After hearing that from them I realized that it is more prominent than we think, we don’t say it and it is that secret in the back of people’s minds yet we definitely experience it and worry about it. Like @Sam said we need to put ourselves first and – as hard as it is – ignore the critics and naysayers and just steam roll ahead.

      Reply
  8. Shereen,I love how you’re talking about what other people think. Often times it really seems it’s the secret that people are worried about what others think. A lot of people are afraid to admit it, but this is something that can greatly sway the process of change, depending on the individual of course.

    I’m so happy you’re part of the series, this is a great post!

    Reply
    • @Grace Thank you! Really cool to be sharing this experience with all of you!

      I know what you mean; I was talking to some friends/colleagues recently about what they’re really afraid of and why they won’t change (habits, behaviors, careers etc) and a similar theme surfaced about how they’re afraid “people” will find out that they’re not really as good as they think they are.

      After hearing that from them I realized that it is more prominent than we think, we don’t say it and it is that secret in the back of people’s minds yet we definitely experience it and worry about it. Like @Sam said we need to put ourselves first and – as hard as it is – ignore the critics and naysayers and just steam roll ahead.

      Reply
  9. Great post, Shereen. Fear of the unknown is certainly a major element to the whole concept of change, but more so than the unknown, I think fear of failure is what prevents many of us from instigating some sort of change within our lives. You start to worry about other people– satisfying other people’s needs and often neglecting your own self on the way. You worry about meeting expectations, or facing the possibility of failure.

    Whether it results in success or failure though, I think change itself is always a positive thing. With each new change you take a step in a new direction– a step towards a better and brighter you- a changed you. Instead though, many of us want to change, but staying the same always seems much easier. We carry on and simply come up with excuses for not changing.

    You start blaming those around you or pointing fingers. You try and pinpoint the reasons why you failed to adopt some sort of change in your life, but, in the end, the only person you have to blame is yourself. Being fully in control of your destiny is actually quite scary, and many people refrain from introducing any sort of change because they are afraid that, once they do, things can become completely unpredictable. That’s partly the reason why I think so many people prefer to stick to routine and lead a predictable and monotonous existence. We tend to think it is impossible to flourish when things are unstable. Personally, I disagree…I think some of best transformations occur when you take the time to challenge yourself, mix things up, and change.

    Routine is comfortable, predictable. We know what the outcome will be because we never take the moment to alter our daily lives or try something new. Change, on the other hand, is the complete opposite…You never know what could happen. The key is taking the necessary steps to try and find out, as opposed to sitting back and wondering from afar.

    Loved your post!

    Reply
    • @Lisa thanks for the support! Your comment really hit home for me!

      Fear of success was actually what was holding me back in many areas in the past. Growing up my dad always taught us to be modest and not “show off”- yet as an adult, in the real world, that advice has caused me a lot of angst where I felt uncomfortable about being successful and uneasy about vocalizing my accomplishments, “tooting my own horn” when needed and getting credit where it was due. It was much easier to avoid success than dealing with those emotions.

      I absolutely agree, I’ve come to realize that change in and of itself is indeed a positive experience regardless of the outcome. My biggest transformation both personally and professionally came from taking the plunge and diving into the deep, dark territory of the “unknown” when I traveled to London to study a whole new field, in a whole new land where I knew no one! I learned so much about myself, others and about my comfort threshold and what I was surely capable of.

      Even today I constantly have to ask myself whether I’m acting out of fear of excellence or fear of failure. If I’m hesitating out of fear of success I push through and mold that vision of success to what I’m comfortable with, if it’s out of fear of failure I just dive in because only I can assign a “value” to any failed attempt.

      Reply
  10. Great post, Shereen. Fear of the unknown is certainly a major element to the whole concept of change, but more so than the unknown, I think fear of failure is what prevents many of us from instigating some sort of change within our lives. You start to worry about other people– satisfying other people’s needs and often neglecting your own self on the way. You worry about meeting expectations, or facing the possibility of failure.

    Whether it results in success or failure though, I think change itself is always a positive thing. With each new change you take a step in a new direction– a step towards a better and brighter you- a changed you. Instead though, many of us want to change, but staying the same always seems much easier. We carry on and simply come up with excuses for not changing.

    You start blaming those around you or pointing fingers. You try and pinpoint the reasons why you failed to adopt some sort of change in your life, but, in the end, the only person you have to blame is yourself. Being fully in control of your destiny is actually quite scary, and many people refrain from introducing any sort of change because they are afraid that, once they do, things can become completely unpredictable. That’s partly the reason why I think so many people prefer to stick to routine and lead a predictable and monotonous existence. We tend to think it is impossible to flourish when things are unstable. Personally, I disagree…I think some of best transformations occur when you take the time to challenge yourself, mix things up, and change.

    Routine is comfortable, predictable. We know what the outcome will be because we never take the moment to alter our daily lives or try something new. Change, on the other hand, is the complete opposite…You never know what could happen. The key is taking the necessary steps to try and find out, as opposed to sitting back and wondering from afar.

    Loved your post!

    Reply
    • @Lisa thanks for the support! Your comment really hit home for me!

      Fear of success was actually what was holding me back in many areas in the past. Growing up my dad always taught us to be modest and not “show off”- yet as an adult, in the real world, that advice has caused me a lot of angst where I felt uncomfortable about being successful and uneasy about vocalizing my accomplishments, “tooting my own horn” when needed and getting credit where it was due. It was much easier to avoid success than dealing with those emotions.

      I absolutely agree, I’ve come to realize that change in and of itself is indeed a positive experience regardless of the outcome. My biggest transformation both personally and professionally came from taking the plunge and diving into the deep, dark territory of the “unknown” when I traveled to London to study a whole new field, in a whole new land where I knew no one! I learned so much about myself, others and about my comfort threshold and what I was surely capable of.

      Even today I constantly have to ask myself whether I’m acting out of fear of excellence or fear of failure. If I’m hesitating out of fear of success I push through and mold that vision of success to what I’m comfortable with, if it’s out of fear of failure I just dive in because only I can assign a “value” to any failed attempt.

      Reply
  11. Good stuff Shereen. It’s great to see you going through this change too – as you know from our conversations on Twitter/email, I’m making a big step into the unknown from my comfortable job of almost 10 years. I’ve been reading some Zen Habits (http://bit.ly/beatit) and some chrisguillebeau.com, amongst many others, and they’ve really changed my outlook. That’s not to say it’s all new – I’d read Anthony Robbins many years back and it changed my life for the better back then. But it’s easy to get comfortable, drift and lose sight of the fundamental messages.

    Paradoxically, two opposites had been holding me back: the fear of failure, and the fear of success. Talk about being caught in the middle!

    And then what broke it for me was reading all these motivational, life-fixing articles, and realising that now was the time to take the leap away from comfort. It’s easy to tell a reader to jump and just do it, but part of me believes that that jump only happens when the timing of everything else in life is right. When it’s right, you’ll know – you’ll know that whether you find failure or find success, you’re hungry to step forth for the adventure that will make you stronger and more experienced.

    And though you might find this crass, a friend has a funny yet cutting way of assessing where you are in your life with a very simple 4 word question. I’ve been in the same company for 10 years. I achieved a managerial position within 2 years and became bored. When I tell people what I do for work, they’re more enthused than I am. I’m 34 and still riding public transport. I can provide for myself, just… but for a wife and family in future? So, ask yourself the big question: WOULD I F*** ME? Applying it to myself, it was clear I had to cut the umbilical cord to work that was holding me back, and set off on my own journey.

    Your mileage may vary with that question – hopefully you’ll find a wake-up call in there too!

    Keep posting here – I’m sure many of us are also keen to follow your journey of discovery.

    Reply
  12. Good stuff Shereen. It’s great to see you going through this change too – as you know from our conversations on Twitter/email, I’m making a big step into the unknown from my comfortable job of almost 10 years. I’ve been reading some Zen Habits (http://bit.ly/beatit) and some chrisguillebeau.com, amongst many others, and they’ve really changed my outlook. That’s not to say it’s all new – I’d read Anthony Robbins many years back and it changed my life for the better back then. But it’s easy to get comfortable, drift and lose sight of the fundamental messages.

    Paradoxically, two opposites had been holding me back: the fear of failure, and the fear of success. Talk about being caught in the middle!

    And then what broke it for me was reading all these motivational, life-fixing articles, and realising that now was the time to take the leap away from comfort. It’s easy to tell a reader to jump and just do it, but part of me believes that that jump only happens when the timing of everything else in life is right. When it’s right, you’ll know – you’ll know that whether you find failure or find success, you’re hungry to step forth for the adventure that will make you stronger and more experienced.

    And though you might find this crass, a friend has a funny yet cutting way of assessing where you are in your life with a very simple 4 word question. I’ve been in the same company for 10 years. I achieved a managerial position within 2 years and became bored. When I tell people what I do for work, they’re more enthused than I am. I’m 34 and still riding public transport. I can provide for myself, just… but for a wife and family in future? So, ask yourself the big question: WOULD I F*** ME? Applying it to myself, it was clear I had to cut the umbilical cord to work that was holding me back, and set off on my own journey.

    Your mileage may vary with that question – hopefully you’ll find a wake-up call in there too!

    Keep posting here – I’m sure many of us are also keen to follow your journey of discovery.

    Reply
  13. @Bongo I am really glad you’ve gotten involved in the discussion! More importantly I’m happy to be sharing this “journey” with you.

    Your comment stirred a lot of questions and got me thinking about things from another angle. I completely understand how it’s true, we can’t jump unless the time is right and only we can assess that – not anyone else no matter how well their intentions are for us to make the “leap”. Though somewhere along the line there must have been a catalyst that planted the seed to change and set the wheels in motion – how fast or slow the motion was would probably depend on all the other factors coming into alignment for that “right” timing.

    And so very true, it is really easy to slip back into the “old” ways of doing things, the path of least resistance. Part of sustaining our momentum through this time of exploration and change is having a group of passionate people to bounce ideas off of, share useful strategies and resources and spark real conversations that get us “moving”.

    I’ll be more than happy to keep posting around my journey as long as I can also be a part of all of yours – for that’s where some of the exciting learning happens! :)

    Reply
  14. @Bongo I am really glad you’ve gotten involved in the discussion! More importantly I’m happy to be sharing this “journey” with you.

    Your comment stirred a lot of questions and got me thinking about things from another angle. I completely understand how it’s true, we can’t jump unless the time is right and only we can assess that – not anyone else no matter how well their intentions are for us to make the “leap”. Though somewhere along the line there must have been a catalyst that planted the seed to change and set the wheels in motion – how fast or slow the motion was would probably depend on all the other factors coming into alignment for that “right” timing.

    And so very true, it is really easy to slip back into the “old” ways of doing things, the path of least resistance. Part of sustaining our momentum through this time of exploration and change is having a group of passionate people to bounce ideas off of, share useful strategies and resources and spark real conversations that get us “moving”.

    I’ll be more than happy to keep posting around my journey as long as I can also be a part of all of yours – for that’s where some of the exciting learning happens! :)

    Reply
  15. Shereen, this is amazing writing. Hope to see a blog coming soon!

    Of all those great phrases and sentences, I consider on to rise above the rest:

    “I’m afraid of actually realizing my goal and having to live up to those expectations.”

    This is so true. I can’t really put my finger on why this happens, but it does. Success scares us. Or maybe comfortability holds us back. Whatever it is, it’s clear that being rational about it isn’t enough, we need more than just reasons. We need desire.

    Awesome post. Kudos to you Shereen!

    Reply
    • @Carlos

      Thanks a lot for the support! With such an awesome mind-network I hope to get this blog project off the ground soon!

      I know what you’re saying, it’s like there’s some sort of invisible force field that just holds us back with no rationale behind it. I also echo what you say about needing “desire” – and not just reason. But it also has to fit – just like you wrote “Don’t push change, make it fit”.

      Reply
  16. Shereen, this is amazing writing. Hope to see a blog coming soon!

    Of all those great phrases and sentences, I consider on to rise above the rest:

    “I’m afraid of actually realizing my goal and having to live up to those expectations.”

    This is so true. I can’t really put my finger on why this happens, but it does. Success scares us. Or maybe comfortability holds us back. Whatever it is, it’s clear that being rational about it isn’t enough, we need more than just reasons. We need desire.

    Awesome post. Kudos to you Shereen!

    Reply
    • @Carlos

      Thanks a lot for the support! With such an awesome mind-network I hope to get this blog project off the ground soon!

      I know what you’re saying, it’s like there’s some sort of invisible force field that just holds us back with no rationale behind it. I also echo what you say about needing “desire” – and not just reason. But it also has to fit – just like you wrote “Don’t push change, make it fit”.

      Reply
  17. This is so interesting…I’m in a completely different place in my life and yet, like you, “Change really has been the only constant in my life”. I married at 19 and wound up pregnant on my honeymoon – huge changes that I chose without any knowledge of life and the world. It was “disorienting and a departure from the familiar” and it made me a stronger person. Unexpected change made me more willing to make my own changes. Unexpected and unavoidable change made me a stronger person and I am trying to teach my own children the wonderful and amazing way their lives could be affected by change.

    Growing, reaching and expanding our minds, that is what change gives us if we are able to harness it for our own use.

    Thanks for the food for thought…

    Reply
    • @Katy – I think you bring up something really interesting Katy. ‘Unexpected change makes us more willing to make our own changes.’ I couldn’t agree more – those unexpected changes that shake and challenge us also force us to deal with adversity, and they help us realize that change is a constant that can be conquered. In the end, we hold ourselves back, very rarely is it someone else or some circumstance telling us no, it’s our own rationalization and reasoning that raises doubt. If we could all change (for the better) before we’re forced to change, society would be a much more proactive and forward-thinking place.

      Thanks for coming by Katy!

      Reply
    • Thanks Katy, I really like what you said here “Growing, reaching and expanding our minds, that is what change gives us if we are able to harness it for our own use.” — so very true!

      That’s right change is always unexpected but it’s how we handle it that makes us the person we ultimately become.

      Reply
  18. This is so interesting…I’m in a completely different place in my life and yet, like you, “Change really has been the only constant in my life”. I married at 19 and wound up pregnant on my honeymoon – huge changes that I chose without any knowledge of life and the world. It was “disorienting and a departure from the familiar” and it made me a stronger person. Unexpected change made me more willing to make my own changes. Unexpected and unavoidable change made me a stronger person and I am trying to teach my own children the wonderful and amazing way their lives could be affected by change.

    Growing, reaching and expanding our minds, that is what change gives us if we are able to harness it for our own use.

    Thanks for the food for thought…

    Reply
    • @Katy – I think you bring up something really interesting Katy. ‘Unexpected change makes us more willing to make our own changes.’ I couldn’t agree more – those unexpected changes that shake and challenge us also force us to deal with adversity, and they help us realize that change is a constant that can be conquered. In the end, we hold ourselves back, very rarely is it someone else or some circumstance telling us no, it’s our own rationalization and reasoning that raises doubt. If we could all change (for the better) before we’re forced to change, society would be a much more proactive and forward-thinking place.

      Thanks for coming by Katy!

      Reply
    • Thanks Katy, I really like what you said here “Growing, reaching and expanding our minds, that is what change gives us if we are able to harness it for our own use.” — so very true!

      That’s right change is always unexpected but it’s how we handle it that makes us the person we ultimately become.

      Reply
  19. Great post Shereen! The hardest thing about change is really to take the plunge if it’s self directed, or be instrumental if it’s imposed. I really liked the honesty and final message of your post. We all have a choice, and more often than not, we are the ones building the walls around ourselves to protect us from either changing or accepting change. How we come out and where we end up is mostly up to us. Like you said so well, the best thing to do is try to set our fears aside and just go for it. All of us can look back at changes we made for the good and build on that instead of the fear of failure.

    Reply
  20. Great post Shereen! The hardest thing about change is really to take the plunge if it’s self directed, or be instrumental if it’s imposed. I really liked the honesty and final message of your post. We all have a choice, and more often than not, we are the ones building the walls around ourselves to protect us from either changing or accepting change. How we come out and where we end up is mostly up to us. Like you said so well, the best thing to do is try to set our fears aside and just go for it. All of us can look back at changes we made for the good and build on that instead of the fear of failure.

    Reply
  21. Hi Shereen,

    I accidentally stumbled upon this blog and I still don’t quite remember how, but I’m so glad I did! It’s a great movement and kudos to all those involved in it.
    I could identify a lot with your post and plight Shereen. And I liked the question Akhila raised in response.. the search for the solution. Problems are available a dime a dozen in this world and in our lives, it is the solutions that still evade us. I know this fear of change is a tough one to overcome but I discovered my own way of dealing with it and I’d like to share it with you’ll.

    “I guess we’re also afraid of change because we worry too much about what others think, “what will they say”, how will they view us now, what label will they give us”

    I think this is the crux of the fear of change. On the superficial level.. it is derived from the world beyond us. But on a more subconscious level, I think we are all afraid of letting ourselves down more than we’re care about the “others”. The others just provide us with a very convenient target to blame our own shortcomings on (like you very correctly pointed out).
    Before we begin to even consider changing. I think we need to make ourselves a completely self-sufficient unit. We must work towards striving hard for our own approval.. the only opinion we should care about in relation to us.. is our own.. we need to be more conscious of our actions.. and keep reminding ourselves that every choice is a choice that WE make and no one else, hence.. the consequences..good or bad.. will be our own doing. People other than us.. will always do what they do (i.e. disapprove/envy/hate/like/admire/approve). We MUST make ourselves immune to all their actions/reactions before we begin our journey to Change. To act is up to others.. but to react.. is a choice that WE make.
    So how do we become a whole in ourselves? We boost our confidence and place all our trust in ourselves. We are more resilient and self-reliant than we give ourselves credit for. All we need to do is just try.
    In my personal experience, when I eliminated all blame-targets from my list of options.. there were only two left..me myself and “God”(yes! Even He wasn’t spared. You’d be amazed at how far we can go to avoid holding ourselves accountable!)
    So I found that everything that didn’t go my way (cause of me) I would very conveniently blame on constants like “God”, “Luck” and “Destiny”. I took those options away from Me. I am an atheist today.. and one of the major reasons for that.. is the fact that I realized my belief in God.. was weakening me as opposed to making me stronger. I believed for all the wrong reasons and used Faith as an excuse to not take charge. Yes, Faith did carry me through some tough times in life but if I’d relied on myself instead of using Faith as a crutch to cling to.. I’d have grown much much more stronger through the pain.
    So.. that was gone too. My last option remaining.. was me.

    It was an uphill climb thereon. But I made it. I am today, self-reliant and more confident and proud of myself than I’ve ever been. I changed in order to prepare for change.. and I didn’t even realize it. And non of us need to be bogged down by the mighty phenomenon that Success. When you get there to the top of that hill.. you realize it isn’t half as daunting as you’d let yourself believe standing at the foothill. You get used to it automatically.. you adapt and you get better and better as opposed to being bogged down by the seemingly constant uphill climb.. it’s not an uphill climb once you’re at the top :)But you’ll only truly believe that once you see it for yourself.
    So I hope you’re able to get ahead and take charge of your life.Every single one of us hoping and waiting for the lightning bolt to strike which would FINALLY get us moving..let me tell you.. it’s not coming..
    WE are the only affirmation we need.. and WE are the only truth that really matters at the end.

    I am going to end with two of my all-time favourite quotes that I try to live my life by…

    “If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break;
    its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-more wonders.” – Andrew Harvey

    &

    “Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”……. George Bernard Shaw :)

    And on that note I fold.. and wish you all the very best in life.

    Reply
    • Hi Ankita!

      I’m really glad you “stumbled” across this series and have contributed to it too :)..

      Wow! I am really touched by your comment and thank you for sharing your own personal experience. It’s really resonated with me and my experiences too.

      I love this part of your comment: “To act is up to others.. but to react.. is a choice that WE make.” – So very true, and it sounds much easier than it really is, but in the end it really is a choice only WE make.

      I just attended a seminar this morning around the issue of “mental toughness” and resilience and how in the end it really is up to us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and give it another go yet many of us talk ourselves out of things without even trying. Self-belief in our own potential and becoming self-reliant and “whole” in our own selves is so vital to this process just like you expressed.

      Thanks again for dropping by and reminding me of this crucial message :D

      Reply
  22. Hi Shereen,

    I accidentally stumbled upon this blog and I still don’t quite remember how, but I’m so glad I did! It’s a great movement and kudos to all those involved in it.
    I could identify a lot with your post and plight Shereen. And I liked the question Akhila raised in response.. the search for the solution. Problems are available a dime a dozen in this world and in our lives, it is the solutions that still evade us. I know this fear of change is a tough one to overcome but I discovered my own way of dealing with it and I’d like to share it with you’ll.

    “I guess we’re also afraid of change because we worry too much about what others think, “what will they say”, how will they view us now, what label will they give us”

    I think this is the crux of the fear of change. On the superficial level.. it is derived from the world beyond us. But on a more subconscious level, I think we are all afraid of letting ourselves down more than we’re care about the “others”. The others just provide us with a very convenient target to blame our own shortcomings on (like you very correctly pointed out).
    Before we begin to even consider changing. I think we need to make ourselves a completely self-sufficient unit. We must work towards striving hard for our own approval.. the only opinion we should care about in relation to us.. is our own.. we need to be more conscious of our actions.. and keep reminding ourselves that every choice is a choice that WE make and no one else, hence.. the consequences..good or bad.. will be our own doing. People other than us.. will always do what they do (i.e. disapprove/envy/hate/like/admire/approve). We MUST make ourselves immune to all their actions/reactions before we begin our journey to Change. To act is up to others.. but to react.. is a choice that WE make.
    So how do we become a whole in ourselves? We boost our confidence and place all our trust in ourselves. We are more resilient and self-reliant than we give ourselves credit for. All we need to do is just try.
    In my personal experience, when I eliminated all blame-targets from my list of options.. there were only two left..me myself and “God”(yes! Even He wasn’t spared. You’d be amazed at how far we can go to avoid holding ourselves accountable!)
    So I found that everything that didn’t go my way (cause of me) I would very conveniently blame on constants like “God”, “Luck” and “Destiny”. I took those options away from Me. I am an atheist today.. and one of the major reasons for that.. is the fact that I realized my belief in God.. was weakening me as opposed to making me stronger. I believed for all the wrong reasons and used Faith as an excuse to not take charge. Yes, Faith did carry me through some tough times in life but if I’d relied on myself instead of using Faith as a crutch to cling to.. I’d have grown much much more stronger through the pain.
    So.. that was gone too. My last option remaining.. was me.

    It was an uphill climb thereon. But I made it. I am today, self-reliant and more confident and proud of myself than I’ve ever been. I changed in order to prepare for change.. and I didn’t even realize it. And non of us need to be bogged down by the mighty phenomenon that Success. When you get there to the top of that hill.. you realize it isn’t half as daunting as you’d let yourself believe standing at the foothill. You get used to it automatically.. you adapt and you get better and better as opposed to being bogged down by the seemingly constant uphill climb.. it’s not an uphill climb once you’re at the top :)But you’ll only truly believe that once you see it for yourself.
    So I hope you’re able to get ahead and take charge of your life.Every single one of us hoping and waiting for the lightning bolt to strike which would FINALLY get us moving..let me tell you.. it’s not coming..
    WE are the only affirmation we need.. and WE are the only truth that really matters at the end.

    I am going to end with two of my all-time favourite quotes that I try to live my life by…

    “If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break;
    its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-more wonders.” – Andrew Harvey

    &

    “Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”……. George Bernard Shaw :)

    And on that note I fold.. and wish you all the very best in life.

    Reply
    • Hi Ankita!

      I’m really glad you “stumbled” across this series and have contributed to it too :)..

      Wow! I am really touched by your comment and thank you for sharing your own personal experience. It’s really resonated with me and my experiences too.

      I love this part of your comment: “To act is up to others.. but to react.. is a choice that WE make.” – So very true, and it sounds much easier than it really is, but in the end it really is a choice only WE make.

      I just attended a seminar this morning around the issue of “mental toughness” and resilience and how in the end it really is up to us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and give it another go yet many of us talk ourselves out of things without even trying. Self-belief in our own potential and becoming self-reliant and “whole” in our own selves is so vital to this process just like you expressed.

      Thanks again for dropping by and reminding me of this crucial message :D

      Reply

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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

Latest Posts By Matt Cheuvront

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The Inconvenience of Change

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