Change is already here.
We love change when we control it.
When we ‘do’ change to ourselves:
- A new haircut
- Buying a new pair of shoes
- Changing to a new job
- Moving house to a new area or country.
We actively seek and lean into a change when we get to define when it occurs, what it looks like and the impact it will have on us.
We hate change when we can’t control it.
When change is ‘done’ to us:
- When we lose our job
- When we get sick
- When our lease runs out and we’re forced to move house
We don’t like change when it’s a surprise, we haven’t been able to define how it looks, and the impact is uncertain.
We often avoid change in important areas of our life.
We know what we need to change, but don’t:
- Changing a job that simply hasn’t been fulfilling and meaningful for some time and is impacting our health
- Leaving a relationship that is unhealthy and destructive
- Stopping eating sugar, or drinking, or smoking
We can control the timing of when we make the change. And yet we still don’t make the change. This is because some changes bring uncertainty.
Change brings uncertainty.
We don’t know what it will feel like, and who we will be when we take the action.
What this highlights is that at its core, we love change when we have certainty.
Humans, after all, are certainty seeking animals.
We are hardwired to seek certainty as a key survival mechanism.
Change is already here.
Research reveals that uncertainty is more stressful than predictable negative consequences.
If we can predict the negative consequences, we’re more open to change, because we feel we can still control the timing and to a degree the impact.
With COVID-19 sweeping the world, change is already here whether we like it or not.
And it’s going to bring high levels of uncertainty. And we know the impact will be negative.
How can we respond?
While change is already here, and more is coming and it may feel as though it’s been ‘done’ to us right now, we have a choice.
Option #1: We can wait until the change is ‘done’ to us.
That means sitting and letting things play out.
This brings even higher levels of uncertainty. We don’t have any ability to influence timing, what the change is, or have any understanding of its impact.
Or we can make a choice to be proactive.
Option #2: We can be proactive.
COVID-19 is out in the world now and even with containment measures, it’s not going anywhere fast.
It will change how we live and work.
And not for the short term. Even if a vaccine is developed, with testing time, the earliest we will see one be available will be in 12 months.
We need to recognise that things are irrevocably changing perhaps for a very long time. It’s going to be incredibly challenging for families, communities and countries. There is already and will be more negative consequences.
What if we own this change and all be proactive in responding to it?
In fact, given that containment and social distancing are key to its effective control, being proactive is key.
We really only have the illusion of choice. Our only option is to be proactive and to own this change. Own the timing and start making conscious intentional decisions in our own lives.
Being proactive isn’t just about social distancing, and purchasing food in advance however.
If the world will be in lockdown for several months in some form or other, what are proactive decisions that you can make in your own life in the following areas that will enable you to thrive in these difficult times?
- Your work and career
- Your physical and mental health
- Your learning and personal development
- Your friends, family, and community
- Your spiritual wellbeing
Perhaps it’s designing your own new morning and evening ritual.
Signing up for a new course to learn a new skill.
Connecting intentionally with your family or a friend every day.
Designing that product or starting that business you’ve always wanted to start but never had the time or courage to begin.
Instead of waiting for external parties like governments or your employer to announce further changes that will impact you, what changes and decisions can you make now?
Perhaps these are even decisions or changes you’ve been scared of making for some time.