Why Are We So Surprised by Change?

Why Are We So Surprised by Change?

At the beginning of the pandemic, I sent out a warning to my girlfriends: 

Try on your jeans once a week. Your jeans will keep you honest.

I felt compelled to share this because I’ve worked from a home office for many, many years. I know, with 100% certainty, that if I wear yoga pants for 30 days straight that my jeans won’t fit on day 31. And it’s not the dryer’s fault.

Many of us think that if we don’t change, nothing is going to change. That’s faulty thinking. Lack of change leads to comfort. Too much comfort leads to complacency. Complacency means we’re at risk for massive disruption. 

I can think of a few examples of what this looks like:

  • A neglected relationship is at risk of a breakup
  • A lack of professional development can lead to career irrelevance
  • An ignored “check engine” light can leave you stranded on the highway

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to change, I like to go on the offense – I like to anticipate where change is needed, then self-disrupt before disruption happens to me. 

Here’s how I know when change is needed:

  • When my tried, tested, and true tactics no longer work I’ve got a college-bound 17-year-old. When he was little, being sent to his room as punishment was devastating. Until he discovered reading, which turned time out into a playground. New circumstances required new consequences! (It’s funny how the tables have turned … I think there are days now when he feels the punishment is time with his family and freedom is being left alone in his room.) 
  • When life gets dull. You know what this feels like: work is ho-hum, there’s not a lot of variety in the day-to-day, and there’s no real challenge or goal that you’re working on.
  • When I’m not doing the things that I love. My “loves” are pretty simple: I love to run, I love to bike, I love to walk, I love to go out to eat with my husband, and I love to play games with my family. If there is no time dedicated to what I love doing, change is needed.

We can ignite change within ourselves.

We can self-disrupt by:

  • Forcing a new routine or habit. I was talking with an executive the other day. He mentioned that a few years back he made the commitment to spend 10 minutes every day attempting to learn something new. That period of his career was so invigorating that he is determined to return to this habit in the near future.
  • Challenging our point of view. We can’t always change our context, but we can change how we view things … which has a profound impact on our experience. When a mentor of mine told me that I shouldn’t view life as me vs you, but rather me vs me, that opened up a whole new era of personal growth!
  • Initiating a new hobby or goal. I’m no longer surprised when I hear that a friend or colleague has turned to knitting. ☺ What I’ve been surprised by, though, is when I hear from them how knitting has unlocked a new level of creativity within them. New hobbies and goals are great ways to spark a broader change within yourself. 

In short, change is inevitable. And for many changes in life, we have a choice: change can either happen to us … or we can make it work for us. I prefer the latter. I’m sure you do, too.

All my best,

Angie's signature