Why Is Change So Hard?

Change is a common occurrence in every part of our lives, but it seems that most people view change as an uninvited, fearful event. Change challenges our natural human instincts. Why?

It is because our natural instincts interpret sameness as security and change as insecurity. Our natural instincts always interpret any change as a threat because the change represents NEWNESS, not SAMENESS. So, when things change, the average initial response is skepticism. Skepticism is a strong feeling that is generated by the emotion of fear. How you respond to change depends upon your resiliency.

What is resilience? Resilience is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people don’t dwell on their failures or mistakes. They simply become aware of the situation, learn from it and then move forward.

Do you know that Thomas Edison made thousands of prototypes of the incandescent light bulb before he finally got it right?  It is said that Edison had tens of thousands of failures, but he never let it distract him from his goal.  These failures simply showed him how to “not” invent something. That is resiliency.  Edison’s resilience gave the world some of the most amazing inventions.

How resilient are you? If you had to give yourself a score on a scale of 1 – 10, how resilient would you say you are? Write down the first number that comes to mind. Perhaps you wrote down an 8, 9 or 10. Good job! Keep up the good work. Perhaps you wrote down a 1, 2 or 3. That’s okay; don’t beat yourself up. Here’s the good news — resiliency can be developed and continuously increased with a directed process of intentional thought.

I believe there are three very important keys to increasing one’s resiliency. The first key is the ability to practice “emotional distancing.” The term “social distancing” has become a familiar term recently, and just like social separation, people with high resiliency tend to practice emotional separation. They learn to become an observer of their thoughts and emotions! This means that rather than just reacting to external situations, they focus on a higher level of awareness around what they really want to accomplish. With that clarity, free will and choice become obvious.

We can allow our external circumstances to control how we feel, or we can take back our power and realize that nothing outside of ourselves can cause a feeling inside of ourselves without first giving it permission. This doesn’t mean you walk around in love and joy all day long and never feel any negative emotions. That is not realistic. What this does mean is that you can begin to realize when you are feeling certain emotions, you then have the presence of mind to pause, reflect, release, and not just react.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space and in our response lies our growth and freedom.”

– Victor Frankl

The second key to increasing one’s resiliency is the ability to focus on those things over which you have control. Those who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, powerless and paralyzed by fear. This is one of the reasons we have the Perspective Analysis in the Achievement PlannerTM.  It helps people focus on what they can control. The act of writing things down clarifies thought. This Persepctive Analysis sheet can be found in the green “Tracking Tab” of your Achievement PlannerTM.

Many people don’t realize that you cannot be in your feelings and in proactive thought at the same time. This means that when you are really emotional about something, you aren’t thinking about solutions. This is why it is important that you have a tool that can help move you from your feelings to proactive thought. I use the Perspective Analysis myself anytime I am frustrated, mad or angry at a situation. It forces me to think proactively about what I can do. On the Perspective Analysis page, on the left-hand side of the page you will see “Current Reality.” This is where you write down everything about your current reality. On the right-hand side of the page, you write down all the things that feel you can do about it, not what you hope happens.  Then assign target dates to your Can-Do list and start working on those “can-dos” right away.

The act of physically writing all of your thoughts on the Perspective Analysis sheet will be a useful process in moving you from your feelings into proactive thought. Because writing clarifies thought, this moves you into focusing on what you can control. You are investing valuable time in thinking more about solutions rather than how you feel about a situation. So, I encourage you to use this powerful tool the next time you catch yourself wrapped up in your feelings. It will immediately move you into proactive thought.

One last point remains, and that is the power of Visualization. Are you aware that most of us really don’t know the difference between reality and imagination? Most recent psychological research has shown that the subconscious mind does not have the ability to tell the difference between reality and imagination, and the subconscious mind controls 95% of our thoughts. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

The primary language of the subconscious mind is images. Visualization is a direct communication to your subconscious mind. Here is a brief explanation of how visualization works. What you picture in your mind with focused, clear vision and appropriate emotions sends a signal to your subconscious mind that this is what you choose to create in your life. When your thoughts and visualizations (pictures) become established, they then become the primary source of your throughs and actions. So, it would be wise for us to spend more time focused on what we want to happen rather than worrying about what we don’t want to happen. This can be done in as little as one minute a day. So, take some time every day to visualize what you want to create in your life. The goal is to live moment-by-moment defined by our vision of the future, not the memories of the past or current external circumstances.

“Your imagination is a preview of life’s coming attractions.”

– Albert Einstein

“Change is inevitable!”  By practicing “emotional distancing” using the Perspective Analysis and Visualizing (mental pictures) what you want to happen in your life, you will increase your resiliency.  The more resilient you are, the more effective you become at responding to change.

In love and gratitude