Psychology

Psychology of change: Part First

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How to avoid stagnation trap?

Knowing that change is inevitable, most of us try to avoid or ignore it. Only a few amongst us take a step and realize the chance of growth mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The purest form of water smells bad if it remains stagnant for a while. Human nature wants to change. This is the change which is responsible for innovation in life and in the world.

The only way to enjoy change is to adapt and respond to change positively. Change is the law of nature and those of us who are not happy to see change at the first place will eventually trapped by stagnation. Mental attitude towards change during transition to change is very important. Failing which makes us bitter and resentful.

If we search Google for this term, “change” it shows us about 11,940,000,000 results which are enough to show the importance of this term. Song “change” by Taylor Swift in the album, Fearless is in the top of search in videos. Then, we see the world’s platform for change, the change.org, which claims that 279,675,020 people are taking action. Oxford dictionaries define it as “make or become different, or an act or process through which something becomes different.”

This was an overview of change and its meaning in the dictionary and what is its importance in global context? However, this blog is not about grammatical or search engine relevance of this term. This blog is about the psychology of change and how we can avoid the stagnation trap of our mind and society. What I have discovered in my journey of life and career is that in order to live well we must accept change and believe me; change will provide you a new energy to enjoy your life.

Let’s start with a common questions asked by business executives and managers of corporate world as well as leaders of politics and other walks of life. These are;

What is change?

Change is a law of universe which states that each and every thing is in constant process of change. From atoms to galaxies, from cells to organisms, from seeds to tree, from drop to ocean each and everything is in constant process of change. Our social, biological and psychological behaviors and its patterns are changing gradually. This is change, every old pattern of politics, religion, society, economy, technology and all other domains are constantly changing.

How to recognize change?

This question is complex as compared to the first one which is a law but recognizing change needs some insights which are in common sense. However, the wise have warned us that common sense is a sense which is not so common. So, the best technique to explain this is I think the book was written by Dr. Spencer Johnson, “who moved my Cheese?” is the best story I have ever read. I recommend it due to its brief and excellent expression of this concept of recognition of change.

Which simply says that, in order to recognize your cheese is reducing in size and quality, you must smell it regularly to find whether it is fresh or molds are there indicating that you must change your cheese and search for the new one. If we wait for the cheese to be moved or disappear one day, we will be starving and dyeing no time soon.

Every process has its indications; change is indicated by various factors. If we have eyes on our fields’ new ideas and researches we will recognize change fast than our colleagues.

How to adopt to change?

This step towards adaptation is to recognizing change first then realizing, what is an important aspect of life to keep, and what to discard or change? Adaptation comes with the deep understanding and analysis of situation and patterns of behavior and mental processes involved in it. Along with social, political and economic situations which affects each other.  

What are the components of change?

There are three basic components of change which we can call as ABC. “A” stands for affect meaning feelings and emotion, “B” stands for behavior and “C” stands for Cognition. Our human mind is designed to place higher value to things, ideas and actions attached to emotions. Most of us do things which we like and our feelings guide us to do or avoid things not feeling good to us.

Although we decide to do or not to do things we like or don’t like, our behaviors are guided by emotions, and however, without involving mind in behavior we can’t complete anything, including change too. In order to change we must attach cognition, feelings and behavior at one place to accelerate process of change.

What are the factors affecting change?

There are two types of factors which affects the process of change: The subjective and the objective ones, i.e., demographics, psychographics, education, experience, motivation and dreams.

Why do we have to know change’s psychology?

I like this notation of Tony Robbins that, wealth is 80% of your psychology and 20% of mechanics. This is true when we see the impacts of psychology on our life. Without psychology we are not even able to understand why we are doing things we are actually doing and things we are not doing what we actually want to do. Knowing change’s psychology we actually prepare ourselves for change.

Why is it important to accept change?

It is important to accept change denial of change makes things worse. Paying bills without money, rent, food and educational fees awakes you at night. There is no running away. It is far better to accept change in its beginning rather than to wait for a storm to drag you in its eye.

How to change mental processes and behaviors relating to change?

It is simple but not easy. Changing mental process starts from healthy mental diet. It’s not about food or other nutritional items. It is about mental exercise, i.e. books, seminars, workshops, trainings, positive attitude towards life, satisfaction with life and all other resources helps you to improve your mental strength and capacity to heal and feel your heart and soul. 

Why do we avoid change?

We avoid change just because we think that we can handle this melodrama twice. When all hope and aspirations just vanish we start shouting, “Who moved my cheese?” Change makes it’s way subtly, however indications show us exactly what it will be if we avoided change in the first place. Most of us avoid it just because of its link with uncertainty and fear of unknown.

How this process starts?

This process starts when we are ready to asses our drawbacks, understanding and minimizing our weaknesses and understanding and maximizing our strengths. When we know that our life is a result of our decisions and if we are not having or being what we desired, then, there is something wrong about it.

The wrong is basically the decisions we have taken in our past. Present decisions will impact our future. If we don’t want the future the same as present, than we have to change our decisions and it will change our future for good. If we fail to do so the same experience will hit us repeatedly.

Welcome criticism/feedback

This process of transformation starts when we are open to creative criticism and we are willing to take feedback from people we can trust. They show you the blind spots which are not seen in a mirror. Feedback is for our own good. It is not letting behaviors of other people destroy your inner peace. But, to take into account of sincere feedback which will design you into a change maker not a victim of change.

The change and uncertainty

Most mysterious link of change and uncertainty is the gift of unknown. For some unknown is fearful for others it is thrilling adventure. Some treat it as loving the others fearing. For some it is about happiness, courage, confidence and willingness to do some extra work to gain extra results. For some it is frustrating, depressive and anxious situation that they avoid it at any price. They don’t want to lose their security over uncertainty and unknown outcomes.

In our perspective, there are two types of change we experience in our lives i.e. the love-oriented change and the fear oriented change.

Change: The love oriented

The love oriented change is a change which takes risks but they are calculated risks. Trust and loyalty, sincerity and simplicity are the core values of love oriented change. Some of the byproducts of this change are:

Joy

Change is a joyous act of an individual who enjoy his/her life. Who know exactly how joyous is change. The liberating fresh air of change in anything of routine thrills human mind to be joyous and enjoy this process of change which makes lives easy and worth living.

Happiness

Love oriented change results in happiness; happiness feeds heart, mind and soul. Routine increases boredom and the more one stuck in routine the more need for change is expected. Happiness is a brightness of soul shinning in the center of being. Change makes us happy and happiness needs change to happen.

Love and affection

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs place need of love and belongingness above basic. If our basic needs are fulfilled we strive for love and affection from other and give it back to them. If we are stuck with rotten relationships it will only makes us unhappy and resentful. With resentment and hate we can’t expect joy and happiness. Either we will change or we will be the same as before. No change no love and affection there will be no satisfaction with life. If we can’t be happy what else is here then?

Abundance

Most of us are conditioned by society’s false claim that, there is lack of resources in the world. In reality universe is made up of abundance. Abundance is a nature of this universe. Change makes us see that. It shows that when there are lots of crowds on cheese; know that it will be finish soon. If you want to experience abundance, than you have to find another cheese, because there is abundance out there. Just go and search, you will find your share in this world.

Acceptance

The realizations that change has already been happen and we have to accept and adapt to it. Like surfing if we wait for waves and currents of river it will drown us in few moments but if we change our speed and surf safely the power of currents take us to our desired length easily. So, we have to accept that waves of time and space will lead us to somewhere interesting.

The certainty of outcome

The only outcome of change is certainty that it will happen again and again. We can’t stop it. It is powerful, however we can manage it. We can use it to our advantage. We can take benefits out of it if we are ready mentally, physically and emotionally.

Thrill of knowing the unknown

When we change our situations, thinking or feeling patterns it thrills our imagination that what will be the result? When it is desirable condition it further push us to do it again and again. The more we change, the more we are interested in knowing the unknown it strengthen the process of change.

Enjoying solitude

Change is mostly searched in outer world or social world. However psychologists and sociologists believe in inwardly change. We can change our surroundings, home, relationships and careers but if we don’t change ourselves. If we don’t change our attitude towards our lives, thought process, thought inputs we are giving daily to our minds. The same results will be shown repeatedly.

Psychologists think that loneliness is killing our society due to discrepancies in quality of social relationships. However they are also saying that instead of dwelling on our loneliness we can enjoy our solitude. This solitude is a result of change and shift of mindset about being lonely or alone. Celebrating our solitude can give us a lot of relaxation and it may prepare us for journey within and ask ourselves what we are up to, and what we want to become with what we now have?

Being alive and healthy

Change is a sign of life. Only the non-living doesn’t change. Our decision, to change anything at any time, makes us alive and healthy. We can’t exercise when our sedentary lifestyle is there to stop. Our peer pressure or career commitments, doesn’t allow to do so. Our decision to do better in our life is to engage ourselves in changing our behaviors and sticking to our morning and daily health rituals; which makes us, more lively, full of life and healthy.

To be continued…

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