Psychology of change: Part First
How to avoid the 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 terrible if it remains stagnant for a while. Human nature wants to change; this is the change responsible for innovation in life and the world.
The only way to enjoy change is to adapt and respond to change positively. The change is the law of nature, and those of us who are not happy to see the difference in the first place will eventually be trapped by stagnation. Mental attitude towards change during the transition to change is essential, failing, which makes us bitter and resentful.
If we search for Google for this term, “change” shows us about 11,940,000,000 results, which are enough to show this term’s importance. The song “change” by Taylor Swift in the album, Fearless is at the top of the search in videos. Then, we see the world’s platform for change, 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 the global context? However, this blog is not about the grammatical or search engine relevance of this term. This blog is about the psychology of change and how we can avoid our minds and society’s stagnation trap. What I have discovered in my journey of life and career is that to live well, we must accept change, and believe me; change will provide you new energy to enjoy your life.
Let’s start with common questions asked by business executives and managers of the corporate world and leaders of politics and other life walks. These are;
What is the change?
Change is a law of the universe that states that everything is in a constant process of change. From atoms to galaxies, from cells to organisms, from seeds to tree, from drop to the ocean, each and everything is in the constant process of change. Our social, biological, and psychological behaviors and patterns change gradually; This is change; every old practice of politics, religion, society, economy, technology, and all other domains is continually evolving.
How to recognize the change?
This question is tricky compared to the first one, which is a law, but recognizing change needs some insights in common sense. However, the wise have warned us that common sense is a sense which is not so common. 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.
Spencer says that recognizing your cheese reduces size and quality; you must smell it regularly to find whether 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 dying no time soon.
Every process has its indications; various factors indicate change. If we have eyes on our fields’ new ideas and research, we will recognize change faster than our colleagues.
How to adapt to change?
This step towards adaptation is recognizing change first, then realizing, what is an essential aspect of life to keep, and what to discard or change? Transformation comes with a deep understanding and analysis of the situation and patterns of behavior and mental processes and social, political, and economic conditions that affect each other.
What are the components of change?
There are three necessary components of change, which we can call ABC. “A” stands for effect, meaning feelings and emotion, “B” stands for behavior, and “C” stands for Cognition. Our human mind is designed to place a higher value on things, ideas, and actions attached to emotions. Most of us do things that we like, and our feelings guide us to avoid something, not feeling good to us.
Although we decide to do or not to do things we like or don’t, our behaviors are guided by emotions. However, without involving the mind in action, we can’t complete anything, including change too. To change, we must attach cognition, feelings, and behavior in one place to accelerate the process of change.
What are the factors affecting change?
There are two types of factors that affect change: The subjective and the objective ones, i.e., demographics, psychographics, education, experience, motivation, and dreams.
Why do we have to know change psychology?
I like this notation of Tony Robbins that wealth is 80% of your psychology and 20% mechanics; this is true when we see the impacts of psychology on our life. Without psychology, we cannot understand why we are doing things we are doing and things we are not doing what we want to do. Knowing change’s psychology, we 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 awake 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 the mental process starts with a healthy mental diet. It’s not about food or other nutritional items. It is about mental exercise, i.e., books, seminars, workshops, training, a positive attitude towards life, satisfaction with life, and all other resources that help you improve your mental strength and capacity to heal and feel your heart 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 vanish, we start shouting, “Who moved my cheese?” Change makes its way subtly; however, indications show us precisely 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 the unknown.
How does this process start?
This process starts when we are ready to assess our drawbacks, understanding and minimizing our weaknesses, and understanding and maximizing our strengths. When we know that our life results from our decisions and not having or being what we desired, there is something wrong.
The wrong is the decisions we have taken in our past. Present choices will impact our future. If we don’t want the end the same as the present, then 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.
This transformation process 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 good. It is not letting the behaviors of other people destroy your inner peace. But, to take into account sincere feedback, design you into a change maker, not a victim of change.
The change and uncertainty
The most mysterious link between change and uncertainty is the unknown. To some, the unknown is fearful; for others, it is a 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 different results; for some, it is a 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 that 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:
Change is a joyous act of an individual who enjoys his/her life. Who knows precisely how joyful is change? The liberating fresh air of change in anything of routine thrills the human mind to be joyous and enjoy this change process, which makes lives easy and worth living.
Love oriented change results in happiness; happiness feeds the heart, mind, and soul. Routine increases boredom and the more one is stuck in a routine, the more need for change is expected. Happiness is a brightness of the 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 places needs of love and belongingness above basic. If our basic needs are fulfilled, we strive for love and affection from others and give them back. If we are stuck with rotten relationships, it will only make 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?
Most of us are conditioned by society’s false claim that there is a lack of resources in the world. In reality, the universe is made up of abundance. Abundance is the 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 finished soon. If you want to experience abundance, you have to find another cheese because there is abundance out there. Just go and search; you will find your share in this world.
The realizations that change has already been happening, and we have to accept and adapt to it. Like surfing, if we wait for waves and currents of the river, it will drown us in few moments, but if we change our speed and surf safely, the power of winds quickly takes us to our desired length. 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 the 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.
The 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 a desirable condition, it further pushes us to do it again and again. The more we change, the more we are interested in knowing the unknown it strengthens the process of change.
Change is mostly searched in the outer world or social world. However, psychologists and sociologists believe in inwardly change. We can change our surroundings, home, relationships, and careers, but we don’t change ourselves. If we don’t change our attitude towards our lives, thought processes, 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 the 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 a shift of mindset about being lonely or alone. Celebrating our privacy can give us a lot of relaxation, and it may prepare us for the 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 us to do so. Our decision to do better in our lives is to engage ourselves in changing our behaviors and sticking to our morning and daily health rituals, making us more lively, full of energy, and healthy.
To be continued…