One thing in life is certain: things never stay the same. If you are hoping for a consistent status quo, then I’m afraid you will be disappointed. Just think back to how things were five years ago and you will realize that, even in such a short time, there is so much that has changed.
I’m sure some of you know people who refuse to adapt to the computer age, ‘old timers’ who would rather use word processors or typewriters. What’s up with that? Well, when change comes, we have several options, some of which are more adaptive than others. Let’s take a look at them.
The first option is to refuse to change or adapt to any new circumstances, just like those ‘old timers’ who refuse to create an email account. This refusal is generally because of fear: fear of change and, perhaps, fear of being inadequate. When change requires new learning, as it often does, people may believe they’ll never master the new skills, and that renouncing the changes is easier than adapting. The problem is that these people are left in the dust.
Another possibility is, instead of refusing to adapt, stressing out about the change. These are the overly anxious people in our midst, the ones who make mountains out of molehills and dissolve into a nervous energy whenever confronted with a novel situation. They don’t adapt to the change; they just worry themselves sick over it.
The slow-starters, a third possibility, are those who usually start out in one of the first two mentioned roles—either refusing to change or anxiously trying to figure out what to do about it. They will resist or stress until one day, they realize that the change may actually bring benefits. Once they see that there is a payoff, they are able to do what it takes to adapt, often with ease.
The final and most rewarding possibility are the people who understand that change is a part of everything. When we stop evolving, we start eroding. These people welcome change and, in fact, often generate it. They realize that change makes things happen—it propels us forward. These people are quick to adapt, therefore suffering the least from the inevitable.
Do you recognize yourself in any of the above descriptions? Have you read Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese? This book is an excellent description of the four possible characters in the Change Game. In the book, the first character was a little person named Hem. Hem was afraid of change, believed it would make things worse, and avoided it at all costs. The second character was a mouse named Scurry. Scurry ran around in circles, attempting to do something, anything. Sometimes he was right, sometimes wrong, but he was constantly in motion. The third character was a little person named Haw, who was slow to figure things out, but eventually he adapted, realizing that the change could bring something better. However, the real winner was the mouse, Sniff. Sniff jumped into action early, sniffing out the terrain and deciding what to do next. He adapted the quickest.
Which character are you? Who would you like to be? What would you have to give up to be the character you really want to be? Would you like to make a plan right now to implement these changes into your life? It will require a commitment and a good plan.
Want to make a plan? Join me at the Choosing Me Now retreat February 9-11, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.