The Only Other Thing That is Constant… is that you’re going to hear bullet point #1 above over and over again ad nauseum repeatedly over your lifetime sagely stated by people (invariably above you in the pecking order – parents, bosses, elders, leaders) as a vague response to distinct questions whatever be the context!
Of course Change is difficult. And the reason change is difficult is that most people live their lives creating multiple goals of different dimensions and seek to achieve those goals. And they feel a sense of accomplishment when they do reach where they wanted to (or a similar sense of accomplishment in just the pursuit). So to have such a status change is upsetting and no amount of bullet #1 helps to reassure that this is the way things are supposed to be and should be.
In our pursuit of Management best practices, change management and the ability to embrace change figures high in the list of skills that command a premium in the market place. Before Change Management became a proper noun, it just meant the ability to survive changed situations. In fact it’s not as incredibly difficult to acquire this ability as it is routinely made out to be. Just an open mind and a capability to think straight about change is enough:
Resist or restrict attachment to status quo: This is an all-encompassing statement and pertains to everything in an individual’s sphere of existence that is liable to change – personal life, professional life, ownership of products, relationship status, etc. The existential question that pops up is how committed or ‘genuine’ can we potentially be and hence how effective can we be if we’re creating a firewall between our inner self and anything outside of it? Attachment should be conveniently looked at at every stage… don’t deny yourself the gratification of attachment, but be prepared for that attachment to cease at the same time.
Other people don’t matter, or shouldn’t. Really! : One doesn’t change (i.e. clothes) in a glass house or with knowledge of other people watching. Because while we may call it privacy or civil behaviour, essentially our changing is a very private affair and we need our own space to get used to the change. We want to display ourselves post change only when we’re a 100% satisfied with the results. In all other spheres of life and all miscellaneous manners of change, the fundamental remains the same – we’re perfect embracing a change after we’ve made a successful transition and are ready to show off to people we’re unwittingly offering ourselves up for judgment to. Else we’re reluctant to even accept the same. Stop thinking about others! This advice is not really to get rid of curtains in your changing area; it’s only to have a more concerted focus on your own self when faced with a change… it’ll make the change so much easier to internalize.
Have a diverse set of interests: As people grow, often lesser and lesser number of things becoming more and more prominent in life such that when there is change to any of those few remaining things, the entire world, rightly so, seems to be impacted. Keep the breadth of your interests alive. Keep your personal life active, your social life engaged.
Be emotionally mature & have faith: Yes this motherhood and appallingly condescending advice is genuine. When there is no looking back at what has changed, it’s logical that the only way to look is forward. The ‘new’ status is generally going to appear to be less attractive than the earlier status – this is true for even seemingly positive changes (a promotion robs one of comfort of a known job; marriage robs one of independence; a justified salary increment brings additional responsibilities and an inexplicable salary increment brings a sense of suspicion). When things are beyond your control in any case and the change is irrevocable, it makes sense to believe in the concept of better things to come. Else the tendency to feel victimized and launch into self-pity robs you of any opportunity to recognize first-mover benefits from the change.
As an ending note, a discussion of change brings to mind a management development session in my business school in almost another lifetime. The distinguished grey haired, bespectacled, soft spoken instructor gently and, fully mindful of his hourly billing remuneration, slowly asked, “Why do you dislike change… why… indeed why?” And as is the observed trend with profound classroom wisdom, the response wafted in from the back row: “it jingles in my pocket or makes my wallet lumpy. I prefer larger denomination notes!”