Change: Why are We Afraid of It?

Every day I read posts from friends and acquaintances about how much trouble they are having dealing with all the change that the world is throwing at them right now. The pandemic, the slow re-opening of the world, and the fear that at any moment we may be thrown back into an environment where we are stuck at home, isolated once again.

It’s a lot.

But, whether we want it to or not, life continues to move forward, in whatever way this “new normal” dictates. The stress point comes when we try to go back to the way things were. (Hint: we will never go back to the way things were.).

Look, change is hard. We all know that. But I truly think that one of the ways to be successful in life is to learn to not resist change but to embrace it. So how do we do that? Here are some thoughts.

Get used to it. The one sure thing in life (besides death and taxes) is that things change. Impermanence is a philosophy that many of us try to fight against. We want to stay firmly in our comfort zones. We instead get stuck in a pattern of meandering through life, firmly planted in our routines and we get grumpy when someone throws a wrench into our plans. What can we do to prevent change? Absolutely nothing, so we might as well get used to it.

Learn to go with the flow. Yesterday there was a crew here to install a new liner in our pool. Just when we thought things were going smoothly, the foreman comes to us and says that we need to replace the pool skimmer as well as it’s leaking. Well that’s an extra expense we didn’t want. But instead of fighting it, getting angry, jumping up and down, and cursing our house and everything to do with it, I decided to roll with it. Did I cringe at the amount of extra money this unexpected repair was going to cost? Of course! But after I cringed, I took a deep breath and decided that there’s nothing more I can do except go with the flow. In the end, the repair was made and we’re thrilled with the results, and I didn’t feel any additional stress because things changed on the fly.

Live and in the moment. For years, I produced live television shows. Live TV is an interesting beast. Anything that can change suddenly will change suddenly, live, on air, and as a production team you just have to run with it. In live TV there is no “fixing it in post”. You’re out there, warts and all. But there’s an interesting thing that happens in live TV when you just relax and let things roll the way they’re going to roll, and that’s called serendipity. Those are the moments of perfect timing, of the right thing being said exactly when it should be, of a shot working out just perfectly, or even the show ending on time. These things can’t always be controlled and you just need to create space to allow serendipitous moments to occur in your life.

So how do we change the way we feel about change? Well, start by realizing that nothing is permanent, and once you do, it will be much easier for you to let go and let serendipity do its marvelous work.

What say you? Do you resist change in your life, or embrace it? What are some of your tips. I’d love to hear from you in the comments.