Dorian Bass White
Most of us feel some discomfort around change. Put more bluntly…change (or at least the thought of change) can suck. Really suck
Of course, this is the part where I offer the magic formula for solving all your change-related anxieties and woes. Yep, I’m super…or at least I would be if I actually had such a formula.
Instead, what I offer are two questions – both of which are the opposite of the more obvious ways to think about change.
These questions acknowledge that, yes, change sucks. It’s uncomfortable, and we don’t like being uncomfortable.
There are legitimate reasons for this, and it can be hard to overcome. But if we can dig a little deeper and observe the feeling of resistance we experience when faced with change, we can gain some pretty valuable insights. The aforementioned questions can help with this.
Here they are:
Question one – What’s GOOD about NOT changing?
What are the benefits of things being the way they are now?
Question two – What would be BAD about changing?
If you did change, what would you lose or have to give up? These questions seem a bit crazy, because they are not the kind of things we usually ask ourselves when we want to get stuff done. But here is an example of a situation in which they might be useful: Let’s say your garage is messy. It’s quite annoying to have to fight your way through stacks of magazines, the spin bike you used three times and a bunch of boxes with undetermined contents (are they even yours?)…just to get to your car.(Yep, you’re one of the few people remaining on this earth who still parks their car in the garage.)Anyhow, you can never motivate yourself to clean it. And it’s been messy for a long time. Time to wheel out the crazy questions:
What is GOOD about NOT changing? Well, obviously, not cleaning the garage lets you avoid the work of going through all that stuff (and months of haggling with potential spin bike buyers online). Also, with the free time you’ll save, you’ll be able to do other productive things. Or, you know, watch Luther from the start again. So it’s easy to justify NOT changing.
What would be BAD about changing? The task itself is not exactly fun. Maybe you hate dust. There are spiders. And maybe you feel like the job is big, tough, and time consuming.
However, if you really think about it, perhaps something else is at stake. Maybe, for instance, you think it’s important to be thrifty and careful, just like your parents taught you. Throwing stuff out feels wasteful – or even disloyal. Or maybe you’d have to get rid of some things that remind you of the past, or the dreams you had for the future. You’re not ready to decide which memories and dreams are worth keeping, and which aren’t. It’s too hard, or in some cases, too upsetting.
Maybe your messy garage has nothing to do with the mess at all. Maybe, the resistance is actually that you don’t want to make difficult decisions and part with memories and dreams….rather than you being lazy or “ill-disciplined”. By understanding deeper motivations, you get to notice and name your primary stumbling blocks. Ironically, when we understand and acknowledge these feelings, and the trade-offs we need to make to move forward, things can get easier. Once you’ve “noticed and named” it’s time to ask yourself:
What would I be willing to give up or lose in order to move forward?
What tiny piece of the status quo could I let go of today? You don’t have to entirely revamp your life. All you have to do is move one step in the right direction. If you keep stepping in that direction…you might just end up where you wanted to be all along.