Many years ago, my dad’s shoes were getting old and fairly worn out. It was time to replace them. As we all know, new shoes never quite feel as comfortable as the ones we’ve worn, but som times they still need to be replaced. So he went out shopping and after searching through many shoes that weren’t quite right, he finally spotted a pair that felt perfect. He tried them on and really liked how they fit, so he bought them. After bringing them home, he took them out of the box and put him with his other shoes only to realize that he had bought the same shoe that he was replacing.
We like the familiar. We like the things we know. Sure, we like to try a few new things now and then, but challenge one of our core routines and most of us can’t see the benefit in something that’s different from what we are used to. We get so comfortable with the things that we know, that we don’t even realize just how stable much of our life is. Yet change fosters growth. Sticking to what’s comfortable makes us weak, not strong. A lazyboy is really comfortable to sit in. Yet if all we do all day is sit in one, our body atrophies. Comfortable, yes. Healthy, no.
The source of change in our lives can come from many places. Recently, the company I work for acquired another large company. Even though we acquired them, there is still a merger of the two companies cultures and ways. Repeatedly, the first reaction most of us have to being asked to do something in a different way creates a Flash Of Panic. We imagine all the things that could go wrong and mostly just don’t even understand how it could work. After all, if it was so great, wouldn’t we already be doing it? We defend the way we used to do it as better. Yet most of the time, it turns out not to be all that difficult and sometime ends up being better.
If we recognize our own defense mechanisms to change and take a moment to consider whether it’s worth resisting the change or if we should just give it a try and adapt. Most of the time, we aren’t just being asked to change one thing and if we resist every change, we won’t have the energy to push back on the ones that really matter. We tend to think the changes imposed on us are for the worse, yet those that we end up imposing on others are obviously the right call, yet this is exactly how the others feel. Empathizing with them can make it easier for us to find the best of both worlds and succeed together.
It’s time we get comfortable with the discomfort of change.