At some level we all understand the need to change. For many of us there have been only a few large changes, but the idea of change is an important one. The history of noticing the need for change is lengthy.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
New Living Translation
We could agree that change makes sense, but have we continued to follow on with old choices? To advance our lives we must study the context.
What still works?
I had a used car dealer client at one time who had a sign in his office that read:
“Don’t fall in love with the inventory.”
We have an inventory of loved decision. The status quo. Our life’s momentum. Perhaps we should examine the decision inventory. Maybe discount the value of some of them.
There is a reason we should make new decisions and change our ways. It is efficient. It converts some things to the automatic state. It frees our mind-space. For those same reasons change is painful. We do not like to give up our old efficiency even for something better.
All change is negative in the short run even if it is a productive change. Try moving your wastebasket to the other side of your desk and see how long it takes to adjust. Complicated change is more trying still.
Some complicated changes just happen and are unwelcome. Think how deteriorating health would affect you.
The hardest changes are the ones that we consciously decide to make. Stop smoking, more exercise, get a new job. There is, in addition to the despair curve that follows the decision, the decision period prior to implementing. Planning. There can be a time when it seems that it just is not worth the trouble. Present cost is balanced against future value and because of hyperbolic discounting, the future isn’t worth much today.
Because it is painful, we don’t decide and change often. We muddle along.
Accepting the status quo indefinitely is painful too. The pain is measured by how far our decisions are disconnected from the reality that has evolved around us.
In 1998, Spencer Johnston published, “Who Moved My Cheese?” It is a business fable that deals with how we deal with change in our lifespace. It is a short and exciting read. We will all see something of ourselves, more probably others, in its pages.
Bad decisions are usually prompt to show themselves. Our problem comes with right decisions. They fail more slowly and very gradually. We could have been right when we made the first decision. It matched ourselves and our world. It became comfortable and familiar.
The world did not stop changing when we decided and neither did we stop changing.
To progress we must ask ourselves:
- Are we the same as we were then?
- Is the world the same?
If there is a weak fit or no match at all, new decisions are mandatory.
Recall W. Edwards Deming’s thought. “Change is optional. So is survival.”
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772