Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.
I have heard people say “I just hate change and I resist it with a passion”!
Change is uncomfortable…. but imagine if it were possible to wave a magic wand so that nothing ever would change again! Think about it. Babies would stay babies. No new experiences. The weather would be the same every day. No ‘in season’ fruits. Tomorrow would be a repetition of today. The same meal again. The same TV program repeated. The same quiz show over and over. Imagine no Christmas. Everything the same five years from now. Simply a repetition of the past! Over and over again. BORING! No variety. Depressing!
That isn’t what we really long for. In reality, we just want security. Our real fear is ‘The fear of the unknown’. We prefer our “comfort zone,” choosing the devil we know rather than the one we don’t know.
What we know for sure is that change is totally predictable. It will happen. In the last five years, knowledge has more than doubled. These changes – these new insights – create new possibilities and new opportunities. The first thing that brings about change is a healthy discontent. When we become disgruntled with the way something works or doesn’t work, we look for ways to do it differently. We become creative and an invention follows. We create a new model with new and better features and benefits. “Progress!” We went from cassette tapes to CDs to mp3s.
The process is identical in our personal life. We may grow discontented and decide our current circumstances no longer work for us. So, we decided to look for new and different ways of handling situations and challenges. This is when we decide to move out of our comfort zone into a ‘new way of doing things’. And we start on the road called “Progress!”
Excitement comes from “not knowing” — the anticipation – the marvel of the new day and what it will bring that gives us energy and joy. I wanted things to change. Then I discovered the only way things were going to change for me was when I changed. Someone once said, “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight”.
After dissatisfaction comes the necessity to change what we don’t like. When we challenge our old belief systems, a phase of uncertainty can follow. We oscillate between ‘why bother?’ and frustration with the way things are. When we become discontented, we may start thinking of new possibilities. However, the old habits immediately kick in and we rationalize and justify why these ideas would not be possible or even reasonable. Self-talk comes up….“Who do I think I am?” “I tried to change before and it didn’t work.” “What makes me think life can be improved?”
No timeframe exists in this intermediary period. Sometimes we refuse to accept the very change that would bring such joy and pleasure to our lives. To prevent anxiety, our fear holds on to what we know — our old paradigms. Despite wanting things to change, we do everything within our power to maintain things and people in their familiar, routine positions. This fluctuation causes frustration. One minute we desire change, and the next we choose certainty. The change means we may lose control. This nostalgia for certainty brings anguish because life constantly is changing — and if we aren’t creating the change, change may be taking us in the “wrong” direction! “It is our resistance to ‘what is’ that causes our suffering,” said Buddha. Life is change. Change is ‘what is’. It is certain. Everything in our lives eventually will change, for the good or the bad.”
Once we accept that progress to our full potential and purpose is compulsory for true freedom to occur, the idea of change becomes less daunting. We don’t change “for the sake of change,” but rather choose change because it is compulsory to take us to our goal. A boring comfort zone never will offer the challenge and joy of growth and the ensuing progress. A stagnant, unchallenged life may appear easier, but at the end will be filled with regret. The ‘dead sea’ has no outlet. Stagnation causes life to become mind-numbing and meaningless, with no energy and no joy. It is repetitive; alarm, go to work, come home, watch some TV, alarm, go to work, and come home — five or six days a week. It is a treadmill existence of nothingness — a life without progress, passion or purpose.
The decision to change and grow happens when we are challenged that we can be more, do more and have more. This is “the day of disgust — the day that turns your life around” Jim Rohn says. When ‘clarity for our life purpose’ happens, opportunity accompanies it. Now the courage to choose progress eliminates ‘the way it has always been’. We take decisive action and a more gratifying life follows. Action brings consequences, and so does inaction! Progress — from fear-centered leading to freedom.
Enormous discontent demands enormous action. The saying is true, “No pain, no gain”. In the beginning, as we begin the changes necessary to move toward our purpose, we may only see small results. However, we continue praying and hoping the effort will be worthwhile. Every action toward the new destination will bring encouragement because progress brings such great benefits. These small action steps will encourage more action and then more accomplishment, which will lead to more progress. We now find ourselves vibrant and fully empowered by life itself.
If you have reached your “day of disgust”, be challenged to investigate the cause of your dissatisfaction. Release yourself from being ” stuck” in the fear of change and living somewhere where you don’t belong. Identify the necessary CHANGE and decide to take the actions necessary to create the life you only have dreamed about. What fear is so gigantic that it prevents us from making the change to this new life of living in progress and freedom? Change — your life depends on it.