in The Inconvenience of Change

The Inconvenience of Change: Change is Good [Samantha Karol]

Change is Good

Samantha KarolAUTHOR BIO: Sam is a twenty-something with a passion for writing. She works as a Marketing Assistant for online ad network, CPX Interactive, and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Sam loves meeting new people, so be sure to check out her blog: Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates, and say hello. With all of the bloggers our there writing about politics, current events, and saving the world, Life’s Chocolates provides readers with a personal and refreshing perspective on life – which is why I love it, for it’s simplicity and honesty.

Change is good

My dad has a t-shirt that says “Change is good.” He got it when we took a vacation to Vegas about ten years ago. The meaning of the message in Vegas terms is obvious, but the meaning for my dad went far beyond the slot machines.

When I was about nine years old, my dad had a heart attack. It was the scariest night of my life, and I will always remember every detail.  Thankfully (in a way that words cannot even begin to express) he ended up being okay, and began a long recovery that required him to re-evaluate how he was living his life. We soon found out that the non-medical cause of the heart attack was stress. As a rabbi, he has always taken other people’s problems upon himself in an effort to help them, and there is often a lot of politics going on behind the scenes that can get pretty stressful.  It turns out that my dad had gotten pretty good at bottling it all up inside him, too good, and his body had responded. He realized the magnitude of the situation, how lucky he was to be alive, and that if he didn’t make some serious changes, he might not be so lucky next time.

Change is inconvenient

We are all set in our ways, content with the level of balance we’ve achieved in our lives. Though we may not enjoy our routine, it’s familiar and comforting. Our job might not be the most fulfilling, but it pays the bills, and we can always look for another one. No one wants to rock the boat because they’re afraid of falling overboard. Some of us spend our days putting others before ourselves, and we don’t even notice.  Others want to help the less fortunate, but always assume that someone else will do it and never take action themselves.

So, why make the effort to change if things are fine the way they are? Well, when you look back on your life thirty or forty years from now, are you going to wish you had done things differently?  What if you’re looking back much sooner than that? Will you still be content with “fine,” or will you find yourself wishing it could have been “great”?

Yes, change is often inconvenient, it’s difficult, and it will challenge you, but the best things in life are worth the risk. Don’t spend your life waiting and wondering, make every moment count. The truth is that life is unpredictable, and we never know what the next day will bring. Make the effort to get out of your rut and make changes in your life. Even the smallest change can have a big impact.

My dad was lucky, he got another chance, and he has definitely made the most of it. He takes better care of himself, manages his stress differently, and asks for help when he can’t handle everything alone.  But, I know he wishes he had made these changes sooner, and hadn’t needed a near death experience to motivate him. It’s important to take care of ourselves, and others, no matter what we have to do to. So, take a good look at your life, stare change straight in the eye, and embrace it.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me–
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

–Pastor Martin Niemöller

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20 Comments

  1. I’m terribile about change. I have anxiety disorder, and the tiniest change on the horizon freaks me out for weeks prior to the change. In my professional life (well, while I had one, it’s been since 2001 since I’ve last had work) all of the change that I experienced was not only bad, but led to my eventual ouster at each place of employment due to the ramifications of the changes.

    Needless to say, I’m not a fan of change currently. Even right now, with things going very badly in my life, I have a fear of change, even though it seems change could only be possibile for me.

    I’ve definitely never experienced the sentiment that “change is good”- to this point in life. I’d love that to change, but it seems to be an uphill battle.

    • Jaym, I’m sorry that you’ve had such bad experiences with change in the past. I can understand how that would make it even more difficult for you to embrace change now. But, in my experience, the hardest part is motivating yourself to start changing. Though the change itself may be difficult at times, it’s almost always worth it in the end. As I said in the post, it took a heart attack to show my dad how much he needed to change. So, as hard as it may be for you, be careful not to let fear stop you forever. Thanks for your comments!

    • @Jaym – I know you have been through and are going through a lot man (much more than I know, I’m sure) but it takes guts to come here, to a public forum, and speak so candidly about your own life and experiences. I know that anything I say, any bit of inspiration I can provide for you will be taken with a grain of salt, but hear me out.

      No matter how many bad cards life has dealt your way, this is still YOUR life, whatever time you claim to have wasted before is in the past – you still have a lot ahead of you, so what’s holding you back from changing things for the better. Is it the anxiety disorder that is PHYSICALLY making things difficult? Or is a lot of it just the thoughts of a wasted life and being stuck in the mindset that your life sucks so much you can never make it better?

      There are some things you can’t control, but there are a lot of things you CAN. You have posted several times here – and every post has been so negative on yourself. My advice to you would be to stop focusing on the things you can’t do, things you can’t change – and start looking at the things you CAN. Maybe it’s a small thing here and there, but your life is not over man, you can’t think like that, it’s an uphill battle, life in general is an uphill battle, but keep on keeping on Jaym, and seriously, if you ever want to chat, or have someone listen, send me an email. I’m a good listener, and I won’t charge you anything for advice!

  2. I’m terribile about change. I have anxiety disorder, and the tiniest change on the horizon freaks me out for weeks prior to the change. In my professional life (well, while I had one, it’s been since 2001 since I’ve last had work) all of the change that I experienced was not only bad, but led to my eventual ouster at each place of employment due to the ramifications of the changes.

    Needless to say, I’m not a fan of change currently. Even right now, with things going very badly in my life, I have a fear of change, even though it seems change could only be possibile for me.

    I’ve definitely never experienced the sentiment that “change is good”- to this point in life. I’d love that to change, but it seems to be an uphill battle.

    • Jaym, I’m sorry that you’ve had such bad experiences with change in the past. I can understand how that would make it even more difficult for you to embrace change now. But, in my experience, the hardest part is motivating yourself to start changing. Though the change itself may be difficult at times, it’s almost always worth it in the end. As I said in the post, it took a heart attack to show my dad how much he needed to change. So, as hard as it may be for you, be careful not to let fear stop you forever. Thanks for your comments!

    • @Jaym – I know you have been through and are going through a lot man (much more than I know, I’m sure) but it takes guts to come here, to a public forum, and speak so candidly about your own life and experiences. I know that anything I say, any bit of inspiration I can provide for you will be taken with a grain of salt, but hear me out.

      No matter how many bad cards life has dealt your way, this is still YOUR life, whatever time you claim to have wasted before is in the past – you still have a lot ahead of you, so what’s holding you back from changing things for the better. Is it the anxiety disorder that is PHYSICALLY making things difficult? Or is a lot of it just the thoughts of a wasted life and being stuck in the mindset that your life sucks so much you can never make it better?

      There are some things you can’t control, but there are a lot of things you CAN. You have posted several times here – and every post has been so negative on yourself. My advice to you would be to stop focusing on the things you can’t do, things you can’t change – and start looking at the things you CAN. Maybe it’s a small thing here and there, but your life is not over man, you can’t think like that, it’s an uphill battle, life in general is an uphill battle, but keep on keeping on Jaym, and seriously, if you ever want to chat, or have someone listen, send me an email. I’m a good listener, and I won’t charge you anything for advice!

  3. Sam you bring up a really interesting point here with the story of your Dad. The sort of change he had to bring about was abrupt and dire. He also wasn’t expecting it and didn’t realize until something pushed him for the change he needed.

    In the end, I say that embracing change is for our benefit and also helps us reevaluate where we need to grow or be.

    • I think what Sam’s story illustrates is that sometimes it takes a dramatic event (in this case her father having a heart attack) to spark change and new ways of thinking. But, it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t take a near death experience to make you reassess your life. If the old saying of ‘you never know what you have until it’s gone’ is true, then every single day of our lives should be spent learning, growing, appreciating what we have, and trying to make our own lives and the lives of those around us better than they were the day before.

      Obviously, this is going to be impossible every day – life is going to throw some stuff at you that’s going to be hard to deal with. And as we’ve said time and time again – change isn’t easy, it’s a challenge, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s better to face it head on now, rather than wait for something dramatic to happen that will ‘shock’ you into actually changing (for better or for worse).

      This is a great post – very personal but it connects to everyone who has taken the time to read it. Sometimes we need a perspective like this to convince us to look within and be thankful for what we have.

      • @Grace- Embracing change is definitely for our benefit. We don’t want to keep putting it off until something dire happens.

        @Matt-You said it so well, “Every single day of our lives should be spent learning, growing, appreciating what we have, and trying to make our own lives and the lives of those around us better than they were the day before.” One of the reasons I wrote about what happened to my dad was to convey exactly that message. As inconvenient or scary as change can be, it’s something we have to confront and overcome to make the most of our lives. Thank you for your comments, and for giving me the opportunity to be part of this series!

  4. Sam you bring up a really interesting point here with the story of your Dad. The sort of change he had to bring about was abrupt and dire. He also wasn’t expecting it and didn’t realize until something pushed him for the change he needed.

    In the end, I say that embracing change is for our benefit and also helps us reevaluate where we need to grow or be.

    • I think what Sam’s story illustrates is that sometimes it takes a dramatic event (in this case her father having a heart attack) to spark change and new ways of thinking. But, it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t take a near death experience to make you reassess your life. If the old saying of ‘you never know what you have until it’s gone’ is true, then every single day of our lives should be spent learning, growing, appreciating what we have, and trying to make our own lives and the lives of those around us better than they were the day before.

      Obviously, this is going to be impossible every day – life is going to throw some stuff at you that’s going to be hard to deal with. And as we’ve said time and time again – change isn’t easy, it’s a challenge, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s better to face it head on now, rather than wait for something dramatic to happen that will ‘shock’ you into actually changing (for better or for worse).

      This is a great post – very personal but it connects to everyone who has taken the time to read it. Sometimes we need a perspective like this to convince us to look within and be thankful for what we have.

      • @Grace- Embracing change is definitely for our benefit. We don’t want to keep putting it off until something dire happens.

        @Matt-You said it so well, “Every single day of our lives should be spent learning, growing, appreciating what we have, and trying to make our own lives and the lives of those around us better than they were the day before.” One of the reasons I wrote about what happened to my dad was to convey exactly that message. As inconvenient or scary as change can be, it’s something we have to confront and overcome to make the most of our lives. Thank you for your comments, and for giving me the opportunity to be part of this series!

  5. Sam: This is such a wonderful post. First, I’m sorry for what you and your family experienced but I am glad for its outcome, for all of you. I think the title of this whole series strikes the biggest chord and is something I recently discovered for myself, why I’ve always kind of feared it — change is inconvenient. It’s kind of like a pop-quiz — you’re never really ready for it whether you studied or not because you never know what questions will be on the test. And we kind of go about our days learning lessons and taking notes, and though in the back of our minds we know it’s possible, we might even know it’s coming, it takes us by surprise and throws us off, leave us unsettled.

    But maybe that’s what keeps life interesting, too. Maybe it’s how you react to that pop quiz, to that sudden change.

    I really think that fear of the unknown is kind of why people remain so settled in their routine — it’s surely why I tend to feel safe in mine. It’s habitual, it’s a cocoon; if nothing can surprise you, if nothing changes, then you can’t get hurt, right? I think that we’ve both realized that change happens whether you want it to or not. And I think you’re right on — you can’t be ready for it, it never comes at a convenient time. You just have to stare it down, as you say, and embrace it. Because you never know when that change will be for the better or what it will feel like to realize that you aced it.

    On another note: I think it’s beautiful that you liken change to having another chance…I think if we all looked at change that way, rather as something foreboding, maybe we would be a little more willing to embrace it when it comes. And it always comes.

    Wonderful writing, Sam, thanks so much for opening up and sharing!

    Thanks, Matt, for featuring Sam in your series!

    • Wow, Susan, thank you so much! Your analogy, comparing change to a pop quiz, is a great one. Change often takes us by surprise, and even if we expect it, we don’t necessarily know what the outcome will be.

      Fear of the unknown is probably one of the biggest deterrents to change. People decide that it’s not worth it to step outside their comfort zone, it’s much easier and safer to stick with their routine. But, we have to want more out of life than being content, no matter how scary change may seem, it’s worth it.

      For my dad, change was another chance, and I wish everyone thought of it this way without having to go through what he went through. Thanks for your insightful comments!

  6. Sam: This is such a wonderful post. First, I’m sorry for what you and your family experienced but I am glad for its outcome, for all of you. I think the title of this whole series strikes the biggest chord and is something I recently discovered for myself, why I’ve always kind of feared it — change is inconvenient. It’s kind of like a pop-quiz — you’re never really ready for it whether you studied or not because you never know what questions will be on the test. And we kind of go about our days learning lessons and taking notes, and though in the back of our minds we know it’s possible, we might even know it’s coming, it takes us by surprise and throws us off, leave us unsettled.

    But maybe that’s what keeps life interesting, too. Maybe it’s how you react to that pop quiz, to that sudden change.

    I really think that fear of the unknown is kind of why people remain so settled in their routine — it’s surely why I tend to feel safe in mine. It’s habitual, it’s a cocoon; if nothing can surprise you, if nothing changes, then you can’t get hurt, right? I think that we’ve both realized that change happens whether you want it to or not. And I think you’re right on — you can’t be ready for it, it never comes at a convenient time. You just have to stare it down, as you say, and embrace it. Because you never know when that change will be for the better or what it will feel like to realize that you aced it.

    On another note: I think it’s beautiful that you liken change to having another chance…I think if we all looked at change that way, rather as something foreboding, maybe we would be a little more willing to embrace it when it comes. And it always comes.

    Wonderful writing, Sam, thanks so much for opening up and sharing!

    Thanks, Matt, for featuring Sam in your series!

    • Wow, Susan, thank you so much! Your analogy, comparing change to a pop quiz, is a great one. Change often takes us by surprise, and even if we expect it, we don’t necessarily know what the outcome will be.

      Fear of the unknown is probably one of the biggest deterrents to change. People decide that it’s not worth it to step outside their comfort zone, it’s much easier and safer to stick with their routine. But, we have to want more out of life than being content, no matter how scary change may seem, it’s worth it.

      For my dad, change was another chance, and I wish everyone thought of it this way without having to go through what he went through. Thanks for your insightful comments!

  7. Thank you for sharing your dad’s story Sam. It’s really touching and I hope this will be a reminder to everyone that change does indeed mean second chances if we so choose to view it that way.

    I was attending a workshop today on “Managing Change” and one theme that runs throughout is change “happens” to us all whether we like it or not. We cannot preempt it but we can certainly adapt to it. It’s also helpful to note the different cycles we go through when we experience any change from “endings” – feelings of denial, shock and anger, to a place of “exploration” – feelings of confusion and finally to “new beginnings” – feelings of acceptance, creativity and freedom.

    Jack Canfield’s formula of E(Event) + R(response/reaction) = O (outcome) springs to mind. We cannot control the events that happen in our life, hence change is the only constant, but by either “responding” (putting conscious thought into it) or just “reacting” (on emotional autopilot) we directly affect our outcome. So we still hold control over the outcomes in our lives and can navigate through the murky waters that change brings about by “choosing” our response. Much harder to actually do in reality, but definitely worth it.

    • Shereen, you make some really interesting points. Change is something that does just “happen” to us, and though we can’t often prepare for it, we can do our best to adapt to it. I like that formula, it’s so true. Life is unpredictable, and there is so much that is beyond our control, but we can control how we respond. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  8. Thank you for sharing your dad’s story Sam. It’s really touching and I hope this will be a reminder to everyone that change does indeed mean second chances if we so choose to view it that way.

    I was attending a workshop today on “Managing Change” and one theme that runs throughout is change “happens” to us all whether we like it or not. We cannot preempt it but we can certainly adapt to it. It’s also helpful to note the different cycles we go through when we experience any change from “endings” – feelings of denial, shock and anger, to a place of “exploration” – feelings of confusion and finally to “new beginnings” – feelings of acceptance, creativity and freedom.

    Jack Canfield’s formula of E(Event) + R(response/reaction) = O (outcome) springs to mind. We cannot control the events that happen in our life, hence change is the only constant, but by either “responding” (putting conscious thought into it) or just “reacting” (on emotional autopilot) we directly affect our outcome. So we still hold control over the outcomes in our lives and can navigate through the murky waters that change brings about by “choosing” our response. Much harder to actually do in reality, but definitely worth it.

    • Shereen, you make some really interesting points. Change is something that does just “happen” to us, and though we can’t often prepare for it, we can do our best to adapt to it. I like that formula, it’s so true. Life is unpredictable, and there is so much that is beyond our control, but we can control how we respond. Thanks for sharing your perspective!