Change is a part of life that can’t be ignored as it reappears again and again in different contexts throughout our daily lives and endeavours. This time, the focus is on changing the habits, which in turn, are largely representing a relationship between your mental processes and daily surroundings. It is true that old habits die hard. Nevertheless, we see people and companies around us constantly altering themselves. Sometimes change is so hard because it isn’t needed in the first place. Change might be unnatural or irrational. But let’s start with some useful definitions.*
In this article, there is a distinction to be made between adapting and changing. Adapting means that you are content with everything concerning your life, but the surrounding environment or circumstances are unexpectedly set in an unpredictable motion. This kind of situation doesn’t mean that you have to change wholly as a person or undertake serious steps like ditching your dream career, a happy relationship or a solid enterprise. It means that you have to be clever and find unconventional ways of making things work in shifting times.
At this point, people seem to confuse adaptation and change. Change will destroy negative parts of your life in order to give way for the more positive ones. Adaptation, on the other hand, is about building a more positive present out of the negative or just plainly unforeseen circumstances. When confronted with unstoppable forces of change around them, people might create unneeded destruction in their lives. Similarly, they might start adapting their functional lives to the negative habits, which creates a vicious cycle leading to the not so bright future. One of the keys to success and happiness lies in analysing your present situation to find out whether you need a change or not. If you do, then take another mindful pause to reassure that it is really about change and not ultimately a loud and clear call for adaptation.
Do I need to change something right now? Posing a question like this may persist in lacking the power to give a proper answer. Instead, it is wise to ask yourself other questions, which truthfully indicate the need for rejuvenation. These questions are to be asked when you are truly in touch with the reality of the outer and inner worlds. In other words, you are not under stress from some uncontrollable negative events, have the possibility to stay in a calm and quiet place enabling to properly focus and have gotten enough sleep. These are some of the more common obstacles people have that stop them from making happiness or success oriented decisions. Of course, you might have more distinct ones and dealing with these problems are a good place to start your journey of distinguishing personal or career related needs.
5 questions for guidance
Relax. Take your time. These questions need thoughtful analysing in the right place at the right time. Answering the questions will persuade your mind to focus on areas of life that sooner or later define the need for adaptation and change. Nobody can tell you the conclusions from these answers. It’s your own call. You can skip them right now to save for later on.
1. Does the current reality support me in making my dreams come true?
2. Do my actions lead to the levels of success I would like to attain?
3. Are there any thought patterns, which stop me from self-actualisation?
4. What kind of habits are bringing me more down than giving any benefits?
5. Finally, a cliché-ridden question, yet clichés exist because they are true. Am I happy?
Change seems impossible? Environment is the keyword!
Change is one of the driving forces behind success. A rolling stone gathers no moss. Standing still, adhering to dogmas and not changing negative aspects of your life is for sure a way of not using your whole potential. Yet, there is something distinctly hard about change. Sometimes people feel the need for change a long time before they finally do something about it. Some might never even get down to it. If you believe in a successful future and making your dreams come true, you also believe in embracing change.
One of the most important keywords to emphasize when speaking about change is the environment. Our surroundings affect us more than it meets the eye. Many habits are closely tied to the places we frequently visit and where we live. That is the reason travelling is such a powerful tool to make profound changes in your life. Once you are well away from the comfortable surroundings, you have also distanced yourself from many beliefs, choices and activities. Some of them might be thoroughly positive. No worries, it is always possible to continue with them after returning. The real value lies in the sudden detachment from the negatively perceived habits. Sudden shock of disconnection from the unfavourable parts of life gives way to fostering lasting change.
Sometimes returning to the well-known territories will create an intense desire of re-adjusting to the old unsustainable activities, attitudes, etc. At that point, there is only one option. Ignore! This is a clear signal to the brain that you won’t use the same old cognitive pathways, creating a need to carve out new ones.
Change has a way of having unexpected setbacks, which might seem barely as mild annoyances on the way towards everlasting new reality. Beware! A little slip here and there, if ignored, might backfire your plans completely. These small obstacles might be the old way of handling problems, misguided actions or whichever were the less than functional habits you possessed.
There are no new roads ahead without the acceptance of needing to change your path. Acceptance that doing things the same way will undermine your dreams. Leading your life the old way doesn’t necessarily mean misfortune instead of success. Yet, if you feel stagnation without any development, it might be a prophecy of truly average times ahead. Understanding questionable ways of thinking, doing things, interpreting life or handling relationships and discovering how these actions are pulling the brakes on your race to successful life is a fundamental prelude to doing things differently. Once you have accepted the need for change, the future already looks way more brighter.
Ironically, change might seem at its most difficult levels of conquering when new ways of being and doing are actually not needed. That’s right, change is not a golden ticket to everything you desire. The common wisdom of textbooks about success can loosely be interpreted that everlasting change is one of the keys to your dream life. No doubt, adaptation is a good skill to constantly develop, but change is different. One is about adapting to the circumstances and the other aims to totally reinvent the circumstances. Change is good, but all good things are best in moderation. Adaptation is crucial.
*Note that these are not dictionary definitions. Adaptation and change are defined here to make a distinction between two different, but related concepts.