Don’t Fear Change — Embrace It Instead
I have failed at many things, but I continue to put myself out there and try new things. And I know that if I don’t try to change things, I will regret it.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
A few years ago I had what some would consider a comfortable life. I had money, home, car, partner, and an active social life to go with it. It was going like clockwork. Everything had its place and time. My life was one big routine of habits. There’s safety and security in routine. Like that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you get back into bed in the middle of the night after a toilet break.
But after a vacation in South America it all changed. I’m not sure exactly what the trigger point was, but when I returned home I was different. I had changed. My values experienced a seismic shift, and what was a priority before moved down the list. And values I’d paid lip-service to moved higher.
“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said ‘Don’t change anything.”
The value of life
While I said that health was an important value, it was not reflected in what I was doing. I was losing my good health and I was too busy to notice. Faith is an important value to me, but I did little to study the word of God or practice it in living. And family life was non existent.
But if you asked me about these values I would always place them in the highest positions. I knew how important they were, I also knew I wasn’t giving the space in my life they required, but I did nothing to change it. I discovered a complex fear of change, that kept me in spinning in the same groove everyday like a scratched vinyl record. I feared I would lose clients, money, home, car, friends, status, respect, and the list goes on.
“Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values.”
There wasn’t the same fear when it came to the things I had lost or damaging, like my health, faith or family.
Within a year, I had quit everything, and left the country too. Doubts? Of course, I had plenty. But with any major decision, it’s wise to question yourself to discover your true feelings. But I jumped off at the deep end, and only discovered my true feelings after I had lived with my decisions. I would ponder making a change, but I could never simulate the feelings I was to experience in the real world.
“Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions.”
It is not always a question of changing for something new. For me it was changing to live in line with my true values. Though for me there was this new aspect of my change, the small detail of a foreign country to consider.
Playing it safe
I don’t expect anyone to go through the dramatic change I went through. But are you playing it safe? Are you laying up your golf ball after in went into the bushes, to be on the safe side? Did you prefer to stay quiet rather than ask that person for a date? Are you not investing in yourself because where you are is okay? Did you try a different food this month? Have you spent any time being silly with your children? How about your partner, when was the last time you skipped the everyday routine?
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
Safe is fine, when it stops you from putting yourself or others in danger. But not so when you need to enjoy the precious time we have left in our lives. There is never enough time to appreciate the wonders of life, but I’ll do my best by embracing change. And this is not about abandoning everything and everyone to lie on a beach sipping cocktails. Or about quitting a nine-to-five job, spending the retirement fund on a new car and cosmetic surgery for couples deal.
It’s about not fearing making a change to what I do everyday. It’s about doing things differently. It’s about making choices and decisions according to my values, and not drawn away from them by myself or others.
And after these small but important changes you experience everyday, there will be a time when you discover what truly matters to you. And by this time you will not be afraid of change — you will embrace it.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”