How Do You React to Change?

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There are 3 things we know about change and the future:

  1. It is not going to be like the past.
  2. It is not going to be exactly the way we think.
  3. The rate of change can take place faster than we can imagine.

In 1803, the British created a civil service position in which a man was required to stand on the cliffs of Dover with a spy glass. His job was to be on the lookout for invasion. He was to ring a bell if he saw the army of Napoleon Bonaparte approaching.  That was all good and well for that time, but even once Napoleon was no longer a threat, the job continued. In fact, that job was not eliminated until 1945! I wonder, how many spy glasses on our own personal “cliffs of Dover” are we holding onto in our lives?

Inanimate objects like clothes, houses, and buildings don’t have the ability to truly change. They simply grow out of style or become unusable.  As humans, we are able to change. So why are we so resistant to it?

Part of the reason is we sometimes mistakenly think the word “change” means that we will have to be the “opposite” of what we are currently. Change doesn’t mean opposite.  In fact, most of the time it means to add-on or slightly adjust.  When we refuse to cooperate with change we end up constraining and restricting ourselves. Deciding in advance how we will respond to change is contributes to our well being.

I have encountered many individuals in my senior move management business who have inspired me to meet change head-on. Marie was an upbeat 91 year old who accepted change in her life easily. When Marie fell and broke her hip, then underwent surgery, and the usual three months stay in the hospital, she handled the ordeal as if it were just another chapter in her life. There was no negativity as she discussed her hospital stay and physiotherapy.  She accepted her limitations with optimism!

“Unbelievable,” you say?

Now, I would like you to meet Joan. Joan had gone through the same journey with a totally opposite reaction.  Joan did not want to give up the life she had before her fall.  She refused to listen to her doctor and her daughter about moving to a safer place.  Her reaction to change brought on a lot of extra stress for her and her family.  Eventually, Joan reluctantly accepted the change and transitioned to her new space. The stress she caused was very wearing on her and her family and it took longer for her to accept the change.

My best advice for you is to make the choice to stay flexible and willing to work with change. Hanging on to the attitude: “this is the way we’ve always done it” or “ that’s the way it’s always been,” will keep you from even better experiences that lie ahead.

There is nothing that remains so constant as change. Don’t be afraid to put down the spyglass and forge ahead to new opportunities.

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