Arif is an entrepreneur and freelance writer that has posted several featured articles and has a passion for the arts and popular culture.
Dealing with change can be a daunting task. It's not easy to adapt one’s self to new normalities and new challenges. But it can be done if you have the right know-how.
Ask Yourself What Happens if You Don’t Change?
Change is necessary in order for us to grow. It is something to be welcomed—not dreaded. Can you imagine a life where you were just stuck in the same routine over and over again? Not finding purpose? Not finding meaning? Let's say you’re stuck in a job that you don’t particularly enjoy, and you feel miserable and resentful. But because you’re so afraid of change you choose to stay in that job. You say to yourself “at least it's a steady job”.
They say the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Well, he sure is. But at what cost? If you choose to stay in a job you hate, do you know what will happen in 5 years? You become more miserable and more resentful, and the worst part is you’re 5 years older. But still, it is the devil you know, at least that part of it is still true. But what if you actually face the risk of leaving your current job and accepting the change, thus, taking on the devil you don’t know. What rewards could lie ahead? Or maybe even pitfalls? We don't know what lies ahead on the other side of change, that's why they call it risk. That's why it's the devil you don't know. The thing about the devil you don't know is that he may not be the devil after all. It could actually be the opposite. It could actually be the best thing that has ever happened to you. The bottom line is this: staying with the devil you know absolutely guarantees misery, but taking on the devil you don't know at least has the possibility of happiness.
Accept That Change Is Necessary
One of the best ways to deal with change is to learn to accept it. Change whether we like it or not, is actually a part of nature, one that we can influence. And it starts when we decide for ourselves that it's okay to learn something new, break the old traditions, and adapt to new environments. It is okay to give yourself the challenge to face something different. Being able to deal with change is mostly a mental and emotional thing rather than a physical thing.
At the start of every beginner’s journey, you must always remember that they begin as the archetype of ‘The Fool’. Someone who has little to no knowledge of a particular skill or craft. And you must be able to accept that fact. You will have to play this part for a considerable amount of time before you can call yourself competent at anything. And this is the fundamental nature of our social hierarchy. Everyone in the free market is in some shape or form competing with one another to become competent in at least one skill; may it be in math, science, construction, medicine, sports, or any other vocation. And at the beginning of that stage of learning, you will be the ‘new guy’ and with enough time and effort put into it, you will become competent or at the very most an expert. And it does not matter, at what stage in your life do you start this journey. You could be in your 40s about to quit your day job and start a business, or in your 20s thinking of switching majors in university. In the beginning, you will always be ‘The Fool’, and THAT IS OKAY.
Learn From The Mistakes of Your Past
So, what do you do once you have accepted that you are now ‘The Fool’? How do you keep on going after you have begun? The sad reality of life is that many people who start something new often quit halfway, and they never stick it out long enough to see the fruits of their efforts. Many people have the habit of being stuck in the learning side of things instead of actually doing them. It's like saying people tend to be stuck on watching videos about learning to play tennis without actually getting a racquet, going to a court, and actually hitting some balls!
When it comes to making a serious change in your life, especially a professional one, you must always try to reflect on the things in your past and learn from any mistakes that you have made. If you held a job for a considerable amount of time, ask yourself what have you learned from that experience. Perhaps you could have conducted yourself better? Maybe you can find a way to be more productive? Or perhaps you could have cultivated your professional relationships better. Whether you had a good or bad experience, there will always be something you can take to heart in your new job. Remember that once you have entered into a new job or career path, you are now much older, wiser, more mature, and more capable of dealing with things that come your way. Your level of competence has increased, therefore making you more valuable. So, know your worth.
Don’t Blame The Institution You’re a Part of for Your Incompetence
Starting fresh may sometimes mean you have to start at the beginning. Back to the drawing board as they say. It can be rather intimidating and because you find yourself lower in the hierarchy of competence, you may be tempted to quickly denigrate the social institution in which you are a part of. What this means is because you don't know much about something new, you think everything and everyone else is wrong. This usually occurs to those who are starting a new job where he or she has absolutely no experience.
For example, when you hear something that you are not really satisfied with at your new job, you may want to complain about it to your peers. Remember, in a corporate setting, it is always easier to communicate with one’s equal rather than a superior. With that in mind, it is easy to fall into the trap of aimlessly gossiping and bitching about your boss—incessantly complaining about how the entire organization you're a part of is broken and how you are the victim. And you sit and whine about how things could be better but you never actually do anything about it. This kind of mindset will always be inhibiting to your growth and you may find yourself stuck in the same place for years.
It is always better to find something more productive to do that could push you up the competence hierarchy. So, always find ways to grow without aimlessly whining about why you're not growing.
Manage Your Stress
Managing stress is another key aspect when it comes to dealing with change. A byproduct of change is the stress that comes along with it. Therefore, you should figure out what are some of the things that you like that calm you down. Taking a walk, being around nature, exercising, and sports are all great examples of ways to manage stress. To eliminate the chaos of change, you must always try to manage your time and priorities. Come up with a schedule and stick to it. You will find that change can be way more manageable that way. It is important to organize your thoughts and compartmentalize aspects of the changes in your life so that you can tackle each challenge more effectively.
Plan It Out
Risk is only worth taking if it is a calculated one. Too many free-spirited gung-ho-type people have fallen into the pit of failure because of the lack of proper planning. Forgive me for using an old cliche quote, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Well, it is a cliche because it is true. A failure to adapt means that you are allowing yourself to be possibly succumbed to the chaos of change. If you are lucky then things may work out for you out of sheer dumb luck. But that sort of thing rarely happens. Even the luckiest of people have somewhat of a plan. Planning things out means strategically managing your endeavors in preparation for a possible uncertainty in the future. If you want to quit your job for example you must be prepared to be jobless for a considerable amount of time, perhaps you have to update your resume, perhaps you have to start saving up some cash and reduce your expenses on unnecessary items.
Remember, choosing to change is choosing to invite chaos into your life. So, it is up to you to bring back order into it.
Change may not always be something we asked for, but it will happen to us nonetheless. Outlining your future path is not a guarantee of success, you are definitely going to falter in some way or another. But you will be better prepared for it when the time comes if you know how to manage it. Fate may come at us in many unexpected forms—and it may be difficult sometimes, but we can always choose how we act on it. As Gandalf once said, “So do all who live to see such dark times, but it is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given to you.”