Take Control of Your Life by Learning to Accept Change

Are you the kind of person who puts a lot of effort into making sure things stay as they are? Do you resist change? Why is it important to accept change and learn to move on from the past?

According to an old adage, the most constant thing in this life is change. Learning to accept change is an important part of readying yourself for success.

Read more about why it’s important to accept change and some techniques to help you do it.

Change Is Inevitable

It’s common to become accustomed to the way things are and not want them to change. But the world is constantly changing, from new technologies to the economy. Learning to accept change makes it easier to adjust to it and benefit from it.

There are two types of change:

  1. Cyclical. Cyclical changes, like economic or seasonal changes, are temporary and last a short time.
  2. Structural. Structural changes are fundamental changes to society, such as the invention of the Internet. Because of these changes, we don’t do business or communicate the way we used to, and we won’t ever go back; we’ll just move on to something else. 

Structural changes are the most significant. If you refuse to get on board with these changes, it makes the rest of your life harder because you spend time resisting them when you could embrace them and the benefits they afford.

Example: Canfield was once hired to give a seminar for the Naval Sea Systems Command. The government had decided to relocate its entire headquarters to San Diego, which affected many jobs. Though the government had offered to pay to relocate everyone, transferring their jobs either to San Diego or helping them find new jobs in Washington, D.C., many people felt inconvenienced and angry. Canfield spoke to those who didn’t want to go to California. Using the formula Event + Response = Outcome, he helped them look at the situation as an opportunity. They could get new, possibly better-paying jobs in D.C., or they could consider embracing the opportunities California had to offer—nice weather and a new community. Framing the situation in this way helped people move from a mindset of fear to one of possibility.

Activity: Ready Yourself for Change

Here are two activities to help you embrace change:

1. Think of a time you were resistant to change. What was the change you resisted? Why? What happened when you finally embraced it? Was it as bad as you feared? Probably not. Remembering times when change benefited you will help you embrace future changes.

2. Identify potential changes in your life. Ask yourself:

  • What change am I resisting? Why?
  • What am I afraid of about this change? Why?
  • What’s the benefit of keeping things the way they are? What’s the cost?
  • What does cooperating with this change look like? What are the first steps?
  • When will I start cooperating and do these steps?

Asking yourself these questions helps you address your fears around the change and learn to anticipate it with excitement instead.

Exercise: Reflect on a Previous Change

Evaluate how adapting to a past change impacted your life.

Think of a time that you resisted a change that you eventually embraced. Describe what the change was and why you resisted it.

What factors made you decide to embrace the change? 

What effect did embracing the change have on your life?

Knowing what you know now, what steps could you have taken to help yourself embrace the change sooner?

Take Control of Your Life by Learning to Accept Change

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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