Change: What’s it all about?
Change as a topic is extensive and emotive. In this blog, we will briefly explore a few points.
- Is change optional?
- Why do so many people struggle with making changes?
- How can we learn to embrace change?
There are many definitions of the word change. Most pertinent for our discussion are:
“to give a different position, course, or direction to”
“to make a shift from one to another” 1
Is Change Optional?
The ancient Greek philosopher/thinker Heraclitus wrote:
“Change is the only constant in life” 2
So, what do you think…..is he right? I believe that we can all agree that some changes are occurring consistently. For example, our bodies are in a constant state of change. Sometimes this change is obvious i.e when we view ourselves as infants then children then adults, its obvious that physical change has occurred.
Our physical bodies are always in a state of change, so this is not optional. What about our mental state? Does that change?
The simple reality is that many of us think that we are mentally ‘complete’ once we become adults/turn 21/get a job etc or that we just ‘arrive’ at a level of mental competence by just living our lives.
Is this really the case?
Is there value in constantly working on our mindset? Is there value inconstantly challenging our beliefs and the things that we hold to be absolute truths?
Author, speaker, leadership trainer and entrepreneur John Maxwell says:
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” 3
Darren Hardy, author, keynote speaker, entrepreneur and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine writes:
“There’s no standing still. You are either green and growing or ripening and rotting. There really is no in-between.” 4
What both these renowned speakers are saying is that recognising that we all have ‘gaps’ in our mental abilities and actively choosing to work (grow) on them can radically improve the quality of our lives.
So, as Darren Hardy says, we can actively choose to grow or we can ripen and rot….. Its a choice!
So, yes, some changes are optional.
Why do so many people struggle to make changes?
A question that often arises is that if change is a good thing, why the struggle? Why do so many people resist it?
Essentially there are many reasons why people struggle with change.5,6,7
- Lack of confidence
- Lack of self worth
- Concerns about competence
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
However, in my time as a practitioner, working and conversing with my clients, the main underlying theme linking the above issues, seems to be fear.
There is no doubt that fear can have a significant effect on our ability to make changes in our lives. 8
Fear itself is an incredibly complex emotion and has both psychological and physiological components to it. 9
One other major reason that people struggle to make changes is not having a strong enough reason to change or as author, speaker and trainer Simon Sinek says. not having a powerful ‘why.’
Without a compelling ‘why,’ we have a tendency to give up on things quite quickly. A simple example of this is New Years’ resolutions. How many people every year, decide to get fitter, healthier, slimmer etc? They join a gym buy lots of healthy food and throw out all the processed and sugary foods. However, within a month or two, they stop going to the gym and revert back to their old lifestyles.
This is just one example of the many changes that we all attempt to make, however, without a powerful reason to stick to the new routine, permanent change fails to occur.
I would recommend viewing Simon’s You Tube videos on this topic. 10
How can we learn to embrace change?
In this brief look at change, we can see that in essence, change is occurring every day, some changes we get to choose, others are thrust upon us.
If we struggle with change then we have a choice to improve our own learning in this area, to get help and identify what some of the underlying triggers may be.
It is, as always…..a choice.
In conclusion, as Muslims we place our trust in and pray that the changes we make help us to fulfil our role, as Muslims i.e to always strive to be closer to God and to serve our fellow man.
With regards changes that are forced upon us, that these challenges bring us closer to God and that we learn to trust in His judgement.
To this end, the last word comes from the Muslim holy book, the Quran, it says: 11
“O ye who believe! fear Allah as He should be feared; and let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of submission” 3:103
“O ye who believe! come into submission wholly and follow not the footsteps of Satan; surely, he is your open enemy” 2:209
“Let him who has abundance of means spend out of his abundance. And let him whose means of subsistence are straitened spend out of what Allah has given him. Allah burdens not any soul beyond that which He has given it. Allah will soon bring about ease after hardship” 65:8
- Merriam Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/change
- Mindset Matters: https://medium.com/mindset-matters/who-said-the-only-constant-in-life-is-change-233fd9e27b87
- goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/81497-change-is-inevitable-growth-is-optional
- LIFE: https://thebetterlifejournal.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/green-and-growing-ripening-and-rotting/ The Compound Effect; Hardy, Darren: June 2010
- Dealing with resistance to change: https://www.insights.com/media/1089/dealing-with-resistance-to-change.pdf
- Ten reasons people resist change: https://hbr.org/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-chang
- Top 12 reasons why people resist change: https://www.torbenrick.eu/blog/change-management/12-reasons-why-people-resist-change/
- talkspace: https://www.talkspace.com/blog/fear-of-change-why-life-adjustments-are-difficult/
- The Biology of Fear: Ralph Adolphs: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3595162/
- Start With ‘Why’-TED Talk from Simon Sinek https://youtu.be/2Ss78LfY3nE
- The Holy Quran: https://holyquran.site/ease%20and%20hardship#1:1