Why is it that when we want to see change it can't happen soon enough, yet when other people want it we resist? Is it just a symptom of our inner control freak that's emerging for the world to see? Or is there more to it than that?
- It's much easier to expect external change than it is to implement internal change. We've got our habits of thought and behavior, our own personal cart paths that we walk every day, mostly without engaging conscious thought. Our habits feel comfortable and familiar, even if they are not getting the results that we want. And when we mess with them, even for the sake of a better outcome, we feel out of whack and disoriented for a while.
- It's obvious what other people need to do to improve. All it takes is a good look. But then if we consider that they are subject to #1 just like we are - hmmm....they might not see it and it might not be comfortable for them to change, either. I see where this is going - change starts with self. Rats.
- We don't like change as much when somebody else has thought of it. Especially when it upsets our apple cart. Don't tell me that I'm never going to be allowed to eat peanut butter again because when I breathe PB & J your allergies kick in. And don't mess with my perfected budget by sending me a request that I didn't anticipate and didn't build into it. If I didn't include it you must not need it very much - you just think you do. Wait until next year. Maybe.
- Some of us automatically dislike change more than others. Certain temperaments tend to cling to stability and stasis more than others do. Systemic thinkers try to fit things to the pre-existing rules, to the precedents. We can choose to look at these people as appropriate balance for the precipitous action takers, or we can look at them as ballast that slows the ship down.
- One change can create a chain reaction of other changes. Just paint the family room a different color and you'll see. The carpet will suddenly need to be updated - then once the floor looks as fresh as the walls you'll be itching for a new chair. At least that's what my husband keeps telling me. Same goes if you upgrade your laptop - you start thinking about new software and an updated carry bag for it (hate that unpacking and repacking of the briefcase at airport security.) On the upside, one small improvement can create momentum for a chain of other small improvements, and together they can transform a person, a relationship, a process or a company.
- There's often a lag time between the change and the results of change. We want to see the benefit - now. We don't want to wait. The lag time can cause us to revert to our old ways, or to tinker with our change and change again before the results of the first have time to reveal themselves. Even the quickest-growing vegetable seeds need time to germinate. And some of the best plants take years to sprout.
- There's no avoiding it. Some people live in homes that are homages to the Victorian era, so much so that you'd expect Abe Lincoln to step out of the guest bedroom. That's on purpose, but I'll bet you that they have central heat and indoor plumbing. And in the business world some products are valued partly because they are produced by the old, handcrafted methods. But you can't sustain a market position by standing still. You have to change just to keep your same place in the queue. If you try to stay just the way you are (or were 20 years ago,) the waves of change will have you face down in the sand.