Change Is What Drives Us Forward

changes signWe human beings are creatures of habit. As a rule we like things that are important to us to stay the same. We fear the unknown, a fear that has its roots in the dawn of humanity when so many basic things were uncertain, like will there be food tomorrow and what’s that scary sound in the night. But this fear has always clashed with the desire to make life better, to gain knowledge, to progress. And progress, any progress, is inevitably driven by change, a change in thinking, a change in perspective, in the least. Progress brings change with it, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but change is always there.

Few are those among us who can embrace change wholeheartedly, without fear. House would probably say there’s something wrong with their heads, but they’re probably luckier than the rest of us. Even if the change is something you’ve dreamed about, like starting a new job in the city you’ve always wanted to live, even if you’re getting married to the love of your life, there’s always that quiet voice — for some it’s very loud — that asks “What if it doesn’t work?”. Well, every change involves some sort of risk, that’s unavoidable, but shunning change just to avoid risk keeps you still, stops you from becoming better, more successful and, ultimately, happier. Because, besides risks, any change, even those events that make us feel it’s the end of the world, such as losing your job, abound with opportunities. It just takes a little change of perspective to see them.

If you think about it, life is a series of changes and there’s no way around that. Even if we’re unaware of it, we ourselves are constantly changing as time goes by. We learn new things, we acquire new skills, we meet new people, go to new places, and our lives are in a constant flux. All this changes us in ways so subtle sometimes that we can only realize how major the change has been in hindsight. Even planned changes such as education and career choice can go in an entirely different direction from what we planned initially. That’s what makes life so interesting, in fact, that it’s always full of surprises, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. And why bother?

The way to accepting and embracing change starts with accepting that there are many factors in our lives over which we don’t have control. It is impossible to hold the reins of absolutely every aspect of life, pure and simple. Besides being impossible, it’s also not very smart — exerting constant control, or rather trying to, is a stressful undertaking and as such it takes away much of the joy that personal and career achievements could bring you. A smarter approach would be to look for the opportunities that come with every change. No matter how adverse it may look, there is literally no event that doesn’t create an opportunity. Think back to the worst thing that has ever happened to you. Did you come out of it wiser, though scarred, a better, or at least more knowledgeable, person than you were before? Did you learn something new from it? If the answer is yes, then you’ve been able to take advantage of the opportunity without realizing it. Don’t be afraid to embrace change. You can’t run away from it, you can’t hide and let it pass you by. Embrace it and see the opportunities it brings with it.