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Managing Change

by on February 6, 2011
in Health, Musings, Relationships, Self, Spirituality, Work

If there is any one thing that you can guarantee, it is that things change.  Forever, in the sense that things, lifestyles, people, objects, do not go through change is a figment of our (and Disney’s) imagination.

To maintain such thoughts and expectations as one ages is naive and childish at best.  What makes us grow as individuals is how we respond the change.  Thus, personal, organizational and societal growth are all conscious decisions.

Change in any form, whether perceived to be good or bad, is a very complex experience.  It can be difficult at times.  What we must look at in these moments is our relationship to change.  How does it make you feel?  How has it made you feel in the past? And what does it make you do in response?

In looking at this relationship, the emphasis should be on who or what has control.  Does the situation control you? Or do you (your conscious mind) control the situation?

Gain Knowledge

The best thing that you can arm yourself with during times of change is information.  This includes, information about yourself, about the world around you, about the relationships between the various objects in the context of change.

As you gather information, you will begin to see patterns as they emerge.  You will begin to see modes of causality and correlation.  This information gathering requires creativity, ingenuity, courage, and an appetite for discovery.

You will try things and fail.  You will expect things and they will not show up.  You will be disappointed, but if you hold strong, you will also be rewarded with knowledge.

Information: The Emotion Mitigator

As you become more knowledgeable, you get better at making predictions.  Things become more clear. Over time, the clarity turns into familiarity.  Sooner or later, you don’t have surprises any more and change has ended.

This process is easier said than done.  Emotions add a layer of complexity to the equation.  Emotion is the reason knowing your relationship to change is important.  Feelings of fear or over confidence may cloud your judgement.  Your beliefs about what is going on is based on how you feel, not verifiable data.  You lie to yourself without even knowing it.

This is where information becomes important.  When you have a disappointment, when you come to believe that something is true about the world around you, and the way things are moving, go to the data.  It will either confirm or deny your feelings.

With this kind of confirmation, you can make sound decisions about what you believe, and what you plan to do in response to change.

Perfection is not Required

No system is perfect.  No one makes the right decision every time.  There are instances where you simply do not have enough information, and waiting will not impact the outcome one way or the other.  The emotions might run high, your thinking is clouded, or you just don’t have time.  Ultimately, you still have to make decisions, you still have to make a choice (even if it is the decision not to make one).

As mentioned before, change will happen, with or without you.  You have one of two choices, you can manage that change, or the change will manage you.  It’s completely up to you.

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3 Responses to “Managing Change”
  1. Csbjork says:

    One of the keys to this post is the title. It says “managing change,” not “controlling change.” Koby wisely points out you must determine “who or what has control.” In almost any given situation we cannot control all of the variables that may affect the outcome, so we must clearly understand and draw a line between the things that we have control over and the things we do not have control over. It is foolish and potentially devastating to attempt to control our future. In some ways, trying to control the outcome of events in the future is like attempting to play god—a serious offense to the ancient Greeks who called this type of action ‘hubris.’ Certainly we can make plans for the future and control those things that we do actually have control over, but we must always understand that as much as we think we know about the future, it will always be an unknown. Accepting this fact should ease the burden that change can sometimes put on our lives. I actually go so far as to try to embrace change whenever it occurs. Of course, I’m not able to wrap my arms comfortably around change every time that it appears, but in general, this attitude creates a healthy environment for me to function in.

    Also, cheers to the notion of not trying to seek perfection. This, too, can be terribly debilitating, and is, in some ways, tied to the irrational notion of attempting to control the world around you. Always do your best and seek personal improvement, but never demand the impossible.

    • kobyackie says:

      Our own action is the only thing we can control. Change exist mostly outside of ourselves. Sometimes we don’t even know when it is happening (which can be frustrating). Choosing to act or not is really the best we can do.

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