I learned an interesting fact about myself the other day. I held the deeply rooted belief that change creates chaos.
When I think back on it, it’s certainly not surprising that I feel like that.
I remember clearly my meditation teacher saying 5 years ago ‘before any new structure falls into place, there is always chaos.’ I took that sentence to heart and still remember it today.
Where something that we’ve heard and really taken onboard resonates with us at the very deepest level, we carry it around with us. It feeds into our everyday life. I sometimes wonder whether that might be the reason that when I did start making huge changes in my life and career, it always felt chaotic and stressful.
Of course, I made all the changes anyway. I had accepted that feeling (deeply) uncomfortable and stressed out was part of it.
Is it any wonder that we’re all afraid of change?
Humans are creatures of habit (with exceptions). Our brain is hard-wired to keep us safe and comfortable (in our ‘comfort zone’). Anything outside this zone, any change, stresses us out.
The imagery and stories we tell ourselves around change and chaos could go on and on – we refer to salmon swimming upstream against the current, start-ups being chaotic (because they’re constantly pivoting?), moving house or country being chaotic, curiosity killing the cat.
So, the question is: does change have to be so hard?
Maybe, just a different approach and attitude would make all the difference.
If we stopped convincing ourselves and telling ourselves stories about how life goes. Stories like…
- There’s no point in setting a ridiculous goal like that anyway. I’ll never achieve it.
- The best I can hope for in life is just to settle with what I have. Better the devil you know
- I’m too old to change now
- That’s just how things are
- I’m comfortable, why rock the boat?
- The grass is not always greener
Before I became uncomfortable and accepting of change, I always needed a major kick up the a***, in order to make any form of change. In other words, my situation had to get so intolerable, where I was currently, that the ‘chaos’ of change was the lesser of two evils.
I think many people have to get to that stage first, to spur them into action. This action often leads them to a better place than where they were before.
However, if we all learned to LOVE change, we wouldn’t need to be at a low point, in order to be incentivised to change.
Here’s the thing: the WHY of you doing something is the most important thing.
If you’ve changed because you’ve been pushed into it by circumstances, it’s a very different type of change (and feeling), to make a change that you know and feel is right for you. I qualify this with sometimes you have to try many things to know what is right for you. No-one likes being compelled to do something. It makes them feel out of control.
You can take back control of change. And change how you feel about it to take away the feeling of chaos and overwhelm.
Nobody said that change HAS TO BE slow or even hard. Be conscious of the possibility that everything you want is closer than you think.
Tell yourself, for example:
- I don’t have to change everything at once
- I just need to take little steps every day
- I can achieve whatever I want
As Lao Tzu said:
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”
Are you heading in the direction you want to go?