"Devil you know is better than good to know " and "All past time was better ", are some of the daily sayings that indicate that change could be bad or that we are destined to fail. But, is this true?
After a brief survey, asking people around me what was the first word they thought of when they hear the word “change”, it is clear to me that the most common is to Think about risks, feel fear and thinking about unknown territory. No person associated change to adventures, the ability to grow or gain something, or visualise it as relatively easy to live. This seems to me curiously ironic; since they say the only constant thing in our lives is change itself.
Humans are programmed to distinguish patterns and classify everything around them. It is based on these patterns and classes that we govern ourselves in daily life. They help us detect when something is wrong or carries certain risks; we do it all the time and everywhere. We can say that, by nature, we seek some consistency in what surrounds us as this gives us confidence and trust in the environment in which we are. But when something disturbs the pattern we have and that we trust, we feel anxious and we try to return to the earlier state: to comfort.
This could explain a little what keeps us resistant against change, however, there are ideas or beliefs about it that make us think twice before accepting it as part of our lives. Here are some myths we all have heard once before:
MYTH 1: Change is dangerous
Many people think that by changing, they leave behind everything they have achieved and may not return to it even if they so desire. As we come out of our comfort zone, we enter a part of the world that is unknown to us; we ran into a jungle of new experiences. However, that does not mean that everything that can happen is bad; change is actually development as it gives us the opportunity to learn new things that make us grow, gain new triumphs and meet new places and people. We may find both pleasant and unpleasant situations, but this is normal and does not imply danger, we simply face something new and different.
MYTH 2: The key to change is willpower
Actually willpower is needed in the process of successful change, however, is not all we need. We can say that this is simply the first step to achieve what we set. The real change is in the constant work transforming our beliefs. Beliefs are ideas that have taken for real. They are stored in our subconscious and have dominion over our actions in everyday life. When we make a significant change, we must do it from within, from the depths of our being, bringing it slowly to the outside. Think of it this way: change with only willpower is like swimming in a river upstream. The change with constant work on your belief system is like achieving to change the direction of the stream and then just let yourself go on it.
MYTH 3: Change is temporary, you always return to the earlier state
This usually happens when, in the process of change, the person does not properly internalises it; he or she did not worked with his or her belief system, but only forced himself/herself for a time to “meet the new standards.” As I mentioned earlier, humans seek patterns; so if we do not change the “original” pattern, sooner or later we will relapse into the old pattern, even if we lose the benefits of the new one.
MYTH 4: Things are the way they are for a reason, so we should not change them
This sentence makes sense to some extent; things are, as we know them because as far as we have come, they have worked well. However, we all know that eventually, from our thinking to the technology we use, things will evolve. There comes a point where progress is so great that the things we use have to change to meet new needs that arise in our lives, because if we refuse to do so, we stagnate and it would be impossible to develop. For example: earlier, communication was through letters, but there came a time where the receptor’s response was needed to make important decisions, they probably could not wait that long, so new methods were developed, and communication became what we know today; say mobile phones or internet.
MYTH 5: Never mind my goals, if I want, I can change
This is relatively true and relatively false. Actually, the goal we set is directly proportional to the achieved success. By this I mean; if we set illogical or unrealistic goals, our mind (together with our belief system), will catalogue them as impossible and will do everything that is its hands to take us back to what we already know. However, if the goals are realistic and we can even visualise ourselves living them and experiencing them, no matter how much it costs, we will surely reach them. By this I do not mean that they should not be difficult to obtain, but must be sufficiently challenging for us to fight for them, but credible enough to inspire us. For example, if my goal is to have a masters by tomorrow, when I have not even been admitted to any college or elected a programme, surely my mind will focus on other issues to avoid wasting time on issues that will probably not add me value and are fanciful. However if I intend to accomplish this same goal within a year, I will focus my energy to do so because I know it’s real and achievable.
As well as these, there are many more myths that revolve around the theme of change, so we must be aware and filter the information we receive. We have the power to choose, not only whether to change, but also to decide what changes we want in our lives according to what they can bring to us. They say if you never risk, you never win. Are you going to win?