The question is, why do some people heed the call to change and others don’t? Why are some people able to change given only a small amount of prodding, and others need an overwhelming, sometimes life threatening event to realize that their life needs to go down a different path?
According to Dan and Chip Heath, emotions are the catalysts to change, not knowledge. We all know that we need to lose weight, or spend less money, but until there is a real emotional connection, we won’t do it.
In my case, I had been wanting to change my career since 1993. I wrote about it in my journal. Why didn’t I do something about it then? Well, I guess I just got used to the paycheck. I had all sorts of excuses – not enough time, not enough money, whatever. Part of me was also worried about what ‘people’ will say. And I’d spent years of my life training for my profession. What I know now is that I must change my life, or it won’t be worth living. Seriously. I know that life is too short to spend it doing something that makes me crazy.
Adam Dachis wrote a wonderful article on why we are afraid of change and what we can do about it. When our brains get wired a certain way, it’s hard to re-wire them. It’s stressful to change. We do everything we can to try to not change. In the end, it doesn’t do us any good. Constant change is one of the only certainties of life, so we had better get used to it. If change is coming, just let yourself freak out about it for awhile, then get on with your life.
Humans are the only creatures on earth who even think about change. Animals and insects just exist, spending their days just trying to eat and procreate. We, on the other hand, spend our time worrying about what we did wrong yesterday and what will happen tomorrow, which is why way too many of us settle for the well-traveled path instead of going for what we really want. We like the feeling of having control over our lives, but we don’t realize that it’s all an illusion that can be wiped away with one medical diagnosis, one job loss, a serious weather event, or accident.
So please, embrace change. Get out of your comfort zone. Try something, anything, new. Live the life that you want to live, not what others expect of you. If it means dying your hair orange, then just do it. The only person who needs to give you permission is YOU.