Here Comes More Change!Posted 12/11/2007
By Richard Flint, CSP
Joe described the emotion best when he looked at me and said: "You know, when you're used to doing something a certain way and then change says you can't do it that way, change is not fun!" How many people, companies, groups and/or organizations have you seen mentally and emotionally paralyzed because they refused to face and implement the changes that were necessary for growth?
How many times have you seen the fear of change create detours and distractions and take one on a journey in the opposite direction from their stated course? Why? The fear of implementing change is stronger than the knowledge that says this must be changed.
For years I have worked to understand why people fear change. Change is, has been and will always be. When necessary change is fought, the result is inward frustration, outward confusion and the loss of one's defined dream. That's a huge price to pay simply because one is unwilling to face the fact of change. Did you know that for one to resist the change they know is necessary, they must create change to keep things the same? Think that through. When something is trying to change and one doesn't want to face the change, they must change the direction to keep it the same.
Let's see if we can shed some insight on Why People Fear This Thing Called Change. The term tells you the emotionalism that creates fear. First, change challenges one's pattern of routine. People live in defined routines. For most, it is their routines that create their sense of stability. They get up each morning knowing what their actions are going to be. That sense of routine makes their day manageable.
What happens when change arrives and attacks one of their major pillars of stability - routine? They fight the change. Most don't take the time to examine whether this change is good; they just know the pattern they have used for years is being taken away. The emotional reaction is this change is bad.
The second reason people fear change is that it ends one's mental slump. Fact: When one is in a routine of living, their mental creativity is low. Routine doesn't demand much brain power. The result is that when change arrives, they are not mentally prepared to handle what they are being handed. What are they going to do? They are going to fight the change they are being handed. They won't take the time to think the change through. That is not a process they have had to do. Their life has had a pattern they are comfortable with. It makes no difference that their life was stuck. The routine is there and change is going to take it away. Their mind jumps in to protect what has been because that's what it has been told is right. The result is a life against change.
The third reason people fear change is that change attacks their fears. Have you noticed that when one is handed change, they are not prepared for it - they even fear it! The majority of people I have worked with are not prepared for change. These are talented, successful people who understand the need for change, but they are not ready for its arrival. It is the lack of preparation that creates the fear, not the change. Fear is an inner emotion created by uncertainty. Uncertainty is the result or lack of preparation. The emotion of fear can shut down one's mental creativity. It can take a person who normally responds and turn them into a reactor who doesn't work to understand. They find it easier to resist.
People fight change because it narrows their excuses. Fact: All of us have an excuse we hang onto as the reason we can't do something. In my years of counseling, I have found that people have one major excuse they use over and over again as the reason their life is this or that. When change arrives, it forces one to examine the excuse. When change wins, it takes the excuse away. The loss of the excuse means they can no longer have that as their reason. If that excuse has become a behavioral pattern, it can have the power to negate the positive aspect of change.
People fight change because change gives tomorrow power over yesterday. This thought is critical. Life has two mental directional choices. It can choose to face yesterday, or it chooses to face tomorrow. The direction one chooses creates the mental program they use to face the events each day hands them. The process of change will not allow one to face yesterday. The process of change understands yesterday is a reference library, not a room to live in. The process of change knows that a life facing yesterday is not prepared for tomorrow. When one is facing yesterday, their entire mental sight plan is designed to keep them where they have been. That mental positioning closes one's mental eye to the opportunities that life holds for them today.
People fight change because change creates an ending. Many people don't like the thought of endings. Have you ever seen a person walk away from something, but hold on too? Have you ever seen a person, a company, a group, or an organization go through change and listen to people talk about the way it used to be? The process of change demands that one not only let go of, but walk away from. What many don't understand about endings is they are really the first step to a beginning. Does that sound strange? Every beginning starts with an ending. As long as one holds on to what has been, they deny their self in the next chapter of their life. Then sometime, some place, one day they wake up and regret all the things they didn't do with their life.
Change is a positive designed to move one's presence beyond what was acceptable for yesterday.
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