You, like everyone else, prefers to do what you’ve done before. You, like me and everyone else, well, pretty much everyone else, likes doing what you are comfortable doing. You know what works and what the heck, why reinvent the wheel. After all, if it ain’t broke why fix it.
I can’t say for sure but I doubt if that “if it ain’t broke” philosophy ever really helped anyone excel. Eventually somebody comes along and breaks what’s been working fine for you. I mean what exactly was wrong with cassette tapes and VHS recorders? They worked and more importantly than that, I knew how to work them.
But along comes somebody who makes them obsolete by inventing these little plastic coaster looking things that held a lot more music and video. And now those are gone too. My CD player was working fine when I threw it out, so was my turntable for that matter.
What is wrong with people who can’t leave well enough alone? Well nothing is wrong with them because if not for them I’d be writing this on a typewrite. If not for them, you wouldn’t be reading it.
It’s normal for people to resist change. I could write pages on the psychological reasons for that but each of us has our own personal reasons for resisting change too. Those frequently trump even logical reasons for accepting the change.
As normal as it is to dislike and even fight change it is also often self-destructive. We fight in order to maintain control because we make the mistake of thinking that with control comes safety.
If that was ever true it certainly isn’t true anymore.
Consider the dilemma of the antelope. When lions hunt antelopes, the pride’s dominant male stays where he is. The female lions — the real hunters, swifter than the male — sneak around to the far side of the herd, fan out in a wide semi-circle, and lie down in the grass. The dominant male, bigger but slower, really incapable of catching the antelope by himself, takes on the job of suddenly leaping up and roaring at the antelope. He’s good at it. The antelope bolt from him — and run straight into the trap laid by the waiting females.
skeeze / PixabayFor the antelope, safety would lie in running toward the roar. Safety comes from deliberately picking out the thing that is most terrifying, and moving toward the source of the fear. No antelope has ever been known to do that. Very few people can either — but people are the only ones who can learn to deal with the change that they fear.
So what about you? What do you fear the most? What conversation do you dread the most? Who in your business or family do you not get along with? Who can you not bring yourself to forgive? What change have you wasted precious time and energy on fighting?
Whether you know it or not, they will be your most powerful teachers of change. Moving forward, toward the fear is the safest and most productive thing you can do.
I’m certain there would be more antelopes in the world if they could move toward that threatening lion. I’m sure there would be more successful people in the world if they invested their energy to seek out their difficult, scary situations so they could work through them.
I feel the need to admit here that I have frequently run from the lion myself. With that admission I can also say that whenever I found the courage to run toward the lion it worked out pretty well.
Will 2019 be the year you face your lions? Will you run at them? Run past them, over them or through them? You can do it, you absolutely can do it, the only question is… will you?
By Steve Keating