A couple of days ago I was talking to a former coworker of mine who is a computer technician for another school district. He’s been trying to implement a new system for managing the computers but finds himself getting pushback from the field technicians. His goal has been to make this change as seamless as possible so there are very few differences between the old system and the new system. Some alterations are unavoidable, however, and it is those differences that the field techs are locking their jaws onto and digging their heels into resisting.
You know where in this scenario I find the irony? These particular folks who are demonstrating a staunch resistance to change are working in technology, a field that is rife with change. Perhaps these people would be better suited for a career in measuring the height of mountains or working for a feed store in a town with a population of 73.
One of life’s greatest paradoxes is the constancy of change. Not only is the shifting sands of circumstance beneath our feet a perpetual phenomenon, the occasional rip tide that yanks us off our course of comfort is inevitable. Sam Cooke tried to remind us of this unwavering truth in song, yet we all too often find ourselves clinging to the lamppost of consistency while Dorothy’s house whirls around us through the digestive tract of the tornado of major life events.
There are times we see the pull date of life-as-we-know-it approaching yet we try to freeze and preserve it in an attempt to make it last indefinitely longer. What is it about major life changes that awaken the Kraken of fear within us, even though we acknowledge that these types of change are inevitable? How many major life changes have we passed through up to this point and become all the better for having survived them? Yet we treat the next molting of our old way of life as an apocalyptic event.
Here’s the theory on this one that I’m going to offer up: When tremendous life-altering events appear on the horizon, they are arriving in a timely manner. The current way of life we are residing in needs to come to a close as it no longer serves us, and on the other side of this upheaval is our catalyst for accelerated personal growth. I believe there is a part of us that is keenly aware of this impending expiration and the necessity with which it needs to come to pass. Yet despite knowing that this transformation is for our greatest good, we still wish to cling to the old ways, the tried-and-true, the way things have always been.
So why do we resist crossing that threshold? It is due to a lack of faith in ourselves. It is a faltering in the belief that we are greater than we realize, that we are well equipped to confront and tackle the new way of life. Fear of the unknown is essentially the ego’s fear of the dark, afraid it will not be able to navigate uncharted waters and will shred its keel on the reef of adversity. We prefer to dine with the devil that serves us dry turkey, overcooked green beans, and good ol’ mincemeat pie as we sit on folding metal chairs at a table no taller than our knees. We at least know what we’re being served at this meal and there are no scary surprises. We are secure in our disappointingly subpar meal that we have come to expect.
When the big changes come, we don’t have to be ready. We don’t have to know what to expect. We don’t even have to want to go through it or to even like that it’s happening. We simply need to acknowledge all the other major changes that have transpired in our past and that we were not only able to survive each and every one, but each provided a tremendous and rich field for our personal growth that we would not have had without the great change imposed upon us.