Embracing change in work and life is essential to growing as an individual and being a better person than who you were yesterday.
Change never seems natural or that easy. We naturally repel it and often we want to retreat back into our comfort zone. Normalcy is safe; as it doesn’t provoke fear and it allows us to live our lives without facing things that could potentially hurt us or build us up.
“The only thing constant is change.” We know this and we understand that our environment can’t stay the same forever. All around us, there is change happening on a daily basis. We are forever growing, expanding, aging and changing. So what is it about the world that can seem so overbearing and scary when change happens? Why is it that many of us are instantly repelled by the thought of change? If we could only learn to let change work for us and benefit us, we could be happier with our lives and the process of growth. Embracing change is key to your success and happiness.
There are two types of change. The first one is a choice to change something in your life, the other change is unexpected!
The first is planned change that you have had time to think about and prepare for. The second is the unexpected kind of change that is often forced upon you by unforeseen events and circumstances. Let’s deal with the unexpected change first.
It’s important to understand that unexpected change is a natural part of life because the reality is that nothing lasts forever. It’s however not only natural but rather also necessary. It’s necessary because it leads to growth, helping you to experience life in a new way. This often leads to new perspectives and likewise helps you to acquire wisdom from your new-found experience and knowledge.
Of course, unexpected change can be dramatic, challenging and uncomfortable. However, it can also be very beneficial if handled thoughtfully. For this very reason, unexpected change is actually best dealt with a curious mindset coupled together with an experimental approach. These two form a powerful combination that will help you to get through the unexpected surprises that life throws your way.
Unexpected change can at times transform your life in dramatic ways. This change may require that you form some new habits and routines while letting go of old habits and patterns of behavior that may no longer serve you. At the same time, it’s important to always stay open to the possibilities and the opportunities that may exist as a result of this change.
Yes, unexpected change is often sudden and scary, however, it can be incredibly beneficial and rewarding at the same time.
How to Adapt to Unexpected Change
The one thing you can be sure of is that your life will change. Even though you might not know what kind of unexpected changes life may bring your way, you can however learn to manage unexpected change much more effectively.
This is a “preparation stage”, where you mentally and physically prepare yourself for what’s to come.
Your first step is to be mentally prepared for possible unexpected change that may suddenly appear in your life. This requires that you develop and continuously cultivate courage, curiosity, optimism, gratitude, and creativity. All of these habits-of-mind will provide you with the flexibility and strength you need when faced with unexpected circumstances. For instance, courage will provide you with the strength to move beyond your fears, curiosity will force you to ask insightful questions, optimism will keep you motivated, gratitude will help you to appreciate what you now have, and creativity will allow you to solve those difficult unexpected problems that life will throw your way.
It’s important to also prepare yourself for worst-case scenarios. Of course, you might not know what life will bring your way a week, a month or a year down the track. However, you can imagine that there are certain possibilities that could eventuate. Some of these possibilities might not be what you want, however, it is important to reflect on them and consider how you might potentially handle these circumstances. Thinking about these things will, of course, be difficult. Nobody wants to consider worst case scenarios. However, the benefits you will derive long-term by thinking ahead will more than make up for the pain you experience in the moment.
In preparation for unexpected change, ask yourself:
How could my life change in the future?
How could my life change for the better?
How could my life possibly change for the worse?
How could these changes be beneficial?
What possible opportunities might they unleash?
How will I respond to these changes when they happen?
How will I take advantage of these opportunities?
In the end, it’s not what happens to you, but rather how you respond to the unexpected events and circumstances of your life that will make all the difference in the end. Your destiny is securely in your hands, and you must now mold it with purpose.
What to do if you are Planning Change?
Okay, so you are wanting to change a habit, or maybe to radically transform your life in some way. Well, there are certain things that you must do to make planned change work for you.
First clarify what it is you want to achieve by making this change. For instance, you might want to change something specific about your life circumstances, or you might want to change something internally about yourself. No matter what kind of change you would like to make, take time to visualize your desired objective and ask yourself:
What specifically would l like to change?
Why would I like to make this change?
What could be possible if I change…?
What are the potential benefits?
Consider all the possibilities of your planned change and the positive impact that this will have on your life. This will help create the motivation you need to follow through on your decision to make these changes stick.
Start by altering the way you view ‘change’. Remember that everything is constantly changing each and every day and that nothing ever stays the same.
Instead of clinging onto old habits, make a concerted effort to proactively create new changes for yourself. These don’t have to be big life-changing things, start with small steps like making a small change to your diet or your attitude.
Commit to personal growth. By embracing change, we start to learn much more about who we are and how we operate. Self-awareness leads to a more meaningful and happier life. So by noticing the way you deal with change, you can start to understand what you need to do differently to live a more fulfilling and successful life.
Accept change. Resist the urge to fight it and you’ll be surprised how much easier life can be when you let go and ‘work with’ change instead of against it. Go with the flow, live each day as it comes and enjoy the ride!