Change is Your Advantage
There is one constant in life, things will never stay the same — change is inevitable. It’s part of the rules of life, there’s no escaping it. Everything constantly changes around us from our bodies to the very world we live in. It’s happening faster than ever before and if we don’t embrace it, we’ll get left behind.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent
that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”
– Charles Darwin
If change is always on the horizon, are we insane to not utilize this to our own advantage? Easier said than done, but resisting change is a recipe for disaster. The common desire to value comfort over growth and want things to stay the same will always be there, but siding with this innocent ignorance is a like boarding a sinking ship — you won’t enjoy the outcome.
Fortunately, there are things each of us can do to ensure this inevitable change we face always benefits us in some way. Looking back I’ve personally found three things that help me make the most of every change that occurs in my life and I have no doubt they can do the same for you.
The very first step in utilizing change is accepting the fact that it is indeed inevitable. Change is always around the corner and although it might not always be what we desire, letting go of any perceived control we think we might have is the best thing we can do.
I believe we resent change because we are so used to something being a certain way and when that’s threatened, we instantly focus on the inconvenience it causes us personally. It brings forth feelings of discomfort because we like things the way they are — that’s natural.
Change is never as bad as it seems — why? because we each control the narrative that plays out in our head, our perception determines if it is or not. As Shakespeare once said “there is nothing neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so”. Yes it can look like an inconvenience at first, but change is always around the corner. Why allow yourself to look at something so common in a negative light? It’s pointless.
If we can adopt the belief that change will always benefit us in some way, it will. But if we allow ourselves to believe it’s always an inconvenience and it’s going to ruin our life, that’s exactly what we’re priming it do to.
The second step to utilizing change is embracing it. Accepting that change is inevitable is preparing for when it happens and embracing change is taking advantage of it when it does. It’s the action you take after change has occurred.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react”
– Charles Swindoll
When you realise you need to find a new job, when the customers don’t respond to your new product, when the opponent does something unexpected — anything other than embracing change is not going to end well. Whether it’s your life, work, business, or sport, change has the power to create and the power to destroy.
There are always two paths we can travel down in the moment after change has occurred. If you’ve accepted the idea that change is always coming and are committed to focusing on the positives it brings, deciding which path you should take is always simple.
Unfortunately just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy.
The thing I love about change is that it has the potential to give birth to new opportunities that don’t exist beforehand. There are countless examples of businesses who’ve fallen from grace because they decided to ignore their customers change in behaviour. There are also just as many businesses who took advantage of it that very change. On a smaller scale, we all know people who lose their mind at the slightest hint of change and we all know people who make the most of every situation.
The difference between those who benefit from change and those who don’t, is not only do they accept change is inevitable, but they are committed to embracing it.
The third step in utilising change is more than accepting and embracing it, it’s not being afraid to initiate it and create it yourself. It’s dictating where the play is going and making the defense stop it. Sometimes in life and business, things become tedious and repetitive, that’s life. Being able to identify this in different areas and initiate change to keep things fresh is an extremely valuable skill.
Did you know that back in 2005, the infamous Haka the All Blacks perform before each game, a century-long tradition, was almost scrapped? James Kerr states in his book Legacy, that the Haka got to the point where members of the All Blacks didn’t want to do it anymore because it had “lost its touch” — in other words, it was stale. Change was needed.
A new and alternative Haka, “Kapa O Pango”, was born. It debuted against South Africa in 2005, and it reinvigorated a tradition that better represented the diverse cultures the current All Blacks were made up of. Watching the footage of that very first surprise performance of Kapa O Pango and listening to the crowd realise what was happening still gives me goosebumps to this day.
It doesn’t matter what area of our lives it’s in, if things aren’t where we want them and we want something different, we’ve got to make a change and do something different. It doesn’t have to be a massive change to freshen things up, sometimes all it takes is a new touch to an old tradition.
“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out”
– John Wooden
Perception is everything — we control it and we each hold the power to manipulate it to our own advantage. That is never more true than when it comes to dealing with change. Whether it’s dealing with the unexpected, changing the old or embracing the new, how you look at change determines how beneficial it is to you. The more open we become to change, the easier it is use it to your advantage and identify when it’s needed.
There is a silver lining in everything, but it’s up to you to find it. I’m not saying we should look at everything through rose tinted glasses, I’m saying we will always be better off focusing on the positives that change brings — we will always benefit from change if we think we will.