“Life will never be the same. Life is changing.” This statement is more true today than ever. Profound changes are indeed taking place in our world today, and these changes are occurring at rapidly increasing rates. Furthermore, the changes are affecting virtually ever aspect of our lives, unlike ever before.
We need not look far to see change happening. In government and politics, democracy and free enterprise continues to spread around the world. In technology, PC processors are available with an astounding speed of 1GHz. In business, Fortune 500 companies announced 66,000 layoffs in January 2001 alone, including cuts by Lucent, Xerox, and AOL Time Warner. The rate of failed marriages has more than doubled from the early 1960s to the present, reaching a point where almost half of all marriages ended in divorce.
Change is inevitable. The idea that “the only constant is change” has been around at least since the time of Heracleitus, circa 500 B.C. The only questions that remain are “how much?” and “how fast?”
If we are changing, and the world is changing, then why do we resist it? Why do we feel as though it is not necessary to change, despite considerable evidence that almost everything in the world is changing around us?
The idea of having to change ourselves is uncomfortable. Reactions to the notion of change range from uncertainty and doubt, to blinding fear. As these feeling emerge, we retreat back to our comfort zone of safety and security. These feelings can render us powerless around the needs to make certain decisions, which causes us to remain as we are.
But change is essential, as it is the only way for growth and improvement to occur. This is true in our world, and in our personal lives. As Albert Einstein observed, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” Although not all change is improvement, without change there can simply be no improvement.
So, how can you ease the process of change? How do you begin to embrace and create change in your life that will empower you, and cause you to grow? Here are a few steps that will move you along that path:
Realize that there’s no security in the status quo. The sense of security that we get from remaining in our comfort zone is a false one. The fact of the matter is, when you’re through changing, you’re through living. It is only by going outside your comfort zone that you can achieve significant breakthroughs in your life.
Become a change catalyst. Be proactive in aligning yourself with the change agents in our world—technology, science and education. Create an action plan for the opportunities in your life. Notice the outcomes, and analyze your results. In addition to the changes that will begin to occur in your own life, you will become a leader for others, as well.
Be patient. The process of change happens slowly and subtly over time. This sometimes presents a challenge for those of us who are used to instant results. Recognize, though, that change consists of a series of small steps, each of which moves you closer to your desired outcome.
Adapt, as necessary. In times of drastic change, it is the adapters who prevail. Although you cannot change the direction of the wind, you can certainly change the direction of your sails. Stay the course, and let it move you in the direction of your destination.
Change is a choice, and you can make a choice today to change. And when change is successful, you will look back on it and call it growth. It’s never too late to change, so start today!
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