Accepting Change

Accepting Change, Necessary But Not Always Easy

It would seem that accepting change would be something we would do well. After all, if there is something in the world that is constant, it is change. In short, change happens. As hard as it can be to do sometimes, accepting change is really necessary for survival. If we can't deal with change, there isn't too much we can deal with.

Serving a prison term in solitary confinement would probably be the closest one could come to existing in a state where change is indeed minimal. Indeed, many who have spent a long time in prison can have a soul-wrenching experience in accepting change when upon release. Change in that case is day to day, almost hour by hour and can be overwhelming for many.

Comfort Zones - The workplace is where one often sees fierce resistance to change, even when it has been patiently explained that the changes to be made are for the better. Even when that is the case, and the environment following the change is different from the present, it often means there will be new responsibilities thrust upon the workers, and positions and jobs will change or even disappear. In this case the reason for fighting against change is because those who will be affected by the change are in a comfort zone. Even if they have worked in the same cubicle for years, doing routine and even mundane tasks, and even if they feel bored and are looking for change, the thought of it can be terrifying, especially so when the change is coming from a source over which the worker has little or no control.

Even in our everyday life outside of the workplace, we constantly seek a personal comfort zone, and once we think we've found it, the thought of something changing can make us very uncomfortable indeed. Accepting change is necessary when we graduate from high school, when we enter the workforce, when we get married (and inherit in-laws), when the first child comes along (and subsequent children for that matter), and so on. Those who find accepting change difficult in such circumstances are perfectly normal in feeling that way, while those who fight change will only add to their own unhappiness.

An Excellent Study - There is an excellent little book, also in a CD version, dealing with accepting change. It is directed towards those facing change in the workplace, but in reality applies to everyday life as well. It’s called Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spenser Johnson, and is a story about 4 mice whose mission is to find cheese. During the course of the story, the cheese, which has always been in the same place, is moved, though there are plenty of signs ahead of time indicating that the change is about to happen. The mice act in different ways, from thinking ahead to denial, and from accepting change as it is happening to not accepting change. It is a short story well worth reading or listening to.

Traumatic Change - There is traumatic change of course, the sudden loss of a loved one, or the sudden discovery you have a terminal disease. The loss of a job, especially when one is blind sided by the event, is traumatic. There are certainly changes that are seemingly impossible to accept, but in many respects are the same time the most necessary to accept to maintain one's sanity.

As far as normal everyday life, and life in the workplace is concerned, the lesson that we need to learn is when things have changed the old ways are often no longer meaningful. We may feel insecure and even downright scared when faced with the need to change, but in not accepting change and attempting to stick to the old ways can make us less secure, and often more isolated. There is a certain power given to us when as we learn to accommodate to change, and the sense of security is given to us when being able to go with the flow.

Benjamin Franklin said it all: "When you’re finished changing, you’re finished."