Make change an opportunity rather than a challenge! Part 1

We all go through constant changes in our life, whether it’s a positive or negative change.

Changing jobs, graduating from university, getting married, and so on are all one form or another of change.

However, change can be challenging. As we went through the covid pandemic, many people experienced difficulties adapting to a new way of living or dealing with the extra stress that the pandemic brought upon us.

How we deal with change in our life can make a big difference. Do we give up to the wind of change and let it carry us through feeling powerless, or can our efforts make a difference?

If you are among the first group where you feel powerless, you will always find an excuse and say that everything was out of your control and there is nothing you can do about it. You will be part of other people’s plans, and you will let the wind of change carry you. You will act like a victim.

However, if you are part of the second group, where you believe that your efforts can make a difference and improve your situation, you will act differently and be a victor rather than a victim. You will look for opportunities in the situation rather than waiting for others to tell you what to do.

In this article, I will discuss why we resist change and what are some of the ways to deal with change.

With that, let’s jump into today’s episode.

Why do we resist change, or why is it hard for us to change?

First: Fear of the unknown

We are governed by our need to be in control and have certainty over our lives. Therefore, when change arrives with unexpected or unknown results, we take it as a threat. We resist it and try to stay where we are because we feel safer.

For example, imagine your manager at work came to you and told you that you would start working from a new location tomorrow. How will you feel? You will be thinking about that new place and whether it fits or not.

As Erika Andersen mentioned, we tend to think of change in three ways before getting to know it:

• Difficult

• Costly

• Strange

The lesson here is to understand the change before you judge it. Maybe this change involves one part of your life, or perhaps it has an opportunity for you.

The understanding of change will help you see it from a clear lens rather than letting the fear or negativity dictate what you see.

Second: Familiarity and attachment to what we know.

When we get used to something for a long time, we become attached and take it as a comforter to our lives.

For example, when you change your job, you may miss your co-workers or the place you used to work.

We love what is familiar and what we know. Therefore, when change comes, we resist it because we are attached to the old ways of doing things or the people we know.

What can help us here is accepting that change is a constant aspect of our lives. And unless we accept that nothing lasts forever, we will have a hard time adapting to change.

The lesson here is to understand that nothing in life stays forever. Seasons change, people change, our day changes between day and night; therefore, nothing will stay the same forever.

Understanding that change is a natural phenomenon will help us adapt to the new and be less attached to what we know.

Third: Confidence in our ability to deal with change.

When change arrives or something new has been put upon us, our internal voices tell us that we will not be able to deal with the new situation.

Therefore, we set ourselves to failure before change arrives and even before knowing if we can deal with it or not.

The lesson here is to reflect on our lives and how we dealt with change previously and how we were able to overcome difficult times before.

Remember how many graduates performed well working on something different from what they study. And remember that nothing that will come to you in life is beyond your control.

It will give you the assurance that you can deal with that change and overcome the difficulties that comes with it.

Fourth: The efforts and energy to change.

We as humans try to preserve our energy as much as possible. We rather stay in our old ways of doing things even if it is not optimal rather than putting energy to change or adapt to a new way of living.

It takes energy to change our minds, build new routines, or break habits. It is called the comfort zone, where you are comfortable in your place and don’t like to put energy into dealing with new situations or change for the better.

That is why you hear many people ask us to get out of our comfort zone because our comfort zone can hinder our success and not let us explore what we are capable of doing.

We forget that not putting the energy now and change will later hunt us because we let the changes or other’s plans guide us rather than taking control and putting the energy required to seek what we want.

The lesson here is to have a sense of urgency that will push you to put in the energy required to deal with change. Because you understand that if you don’t change or put the energy to change, you will later struggle to deal with life or not have the skills required to overcome challenges.

Fifth: Feeling Powerless or thinking that we have no choice.

Often, when change arrives, we feel powerless — thinking that we can’t do anything about our situation.

For example, someone working in a company, and his management asked him to work in a job that he doesn’t like or a place that is not his favorite. This person goes all day feeling powerless, hating what he does, thinking that this will be his life forever. However, suppose that person tried to put in extra hours of learning and preparing for new opportunities. In that case, he will be ready if someone offers him a new opportunity.

The lesson here is, don’t let what happens to you outside determine your life. Always understand that you have a choice and you can improve your situation even if things seem desperate at the moment.

To have optimism, believing that you will find your way regardless of what life throws at you. And believing that your situation or pain will diminish sooner or later if you are persistent.

As the famous quote says “Pain is temporary”.

Sixth: Assuming failure is a more likely outcome than success in change.

Often, when we try something new or change, there is what is called negative expectation. Unfortunately, many people associate change with failure, thinking that any change or a new endeavor will fail. It could be due to previous experiences or the influence of people around us.

This idea comes under the concept of Loss aversion, which explains our tendency to keep what we have rather than seeking something better. It states that the pain of losing is psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining.

That’s why we have few people at the top because they were willing to risk what they have for something better.

It is essential to understand that if we let the thinking of failure dictate our choices, our progress in life will be minor. We will stay in our place and we will be unable to deal with changes around us.

To understand that not all changes end up failing and reflecting on how the greatest achievers and successful people took risks to change.

Recognizing that change can help us know ourselves more, develop our capabilities, and find better opportunities. This idea will support us embracing change rather than link it to failure.

And this is the end of our part 1 of understanding change and ways to deal with it.

In part 2, we will discuss ways to deal with change and how we can make it an opportunity to learn and grow rather than a challenge.

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