Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Conquering the demon called “Change”

"Only thing constant in this world in Change.",
"Nothing is permanent except change"

Here goes some of the ageless quotes about often dreaded phenomenon called as Change. Time and again- Professionals or Home makers, Kids or Adults, Males or Females have found dealing with any sort of changes in their lives, day-to-day routines a challenge, some times as stiff as a mountain to climb.
While going through an article on Embracing Change , the author gives useful insights into typical types of change. Read this-

The reason we may fear change is between what we might call “familiar” and “unfamiliar” types of change. Familiar change is the type we all can, more-or-less, expect and anticipate: we grow older, we learn new things, we expect to get a flu in winter, our favorite (mostly winning) team goes on a (mostly) losing streak, etc.
It is, however, normal to feel disoriented in the midst of unfamiliar, or unexpected, change and cues. In our rapid-fire, rapidly changing world, our schedules, plans and routines become disrupted in a totally unexpected way. The recent mortgage crisis, the stock market crash, and the global economic turmoil are all unexpected, profound, changes that most people simply did not expect to happen.

This is one unique way of looking at change. Before i read this, Change for me meant something that leads to a messy situation and makes the thinking cluttered. This above provide a different perspective. Not all change is messy after all. It also makes me believe that the age-old wisdom of "solving a big problem by decomposing into smaller manageable parts" still holds good in today's times when (unlike in the past) no two days are same in any sense. It is this wisdom that probably prompted the author to break-up and classify the phenomenon of change, which if considered as a single entity is quite hard to fathom.
When describing with what author believes can be a potential solution of dealing with massive changes in life, the article says-

In the midst of change most of us get off of our center because we are creatures of habit. We normally gravitate to sameness and routine unless we work really hard at doing different things. For example, we take the same route to work, eat in the same restaurants on the same day of the week, eat the same cereal for breakfast every day, wear the same style clothes all the time, watch the same TV shows, etc.
The first step to coping with change is to break some of these simple habits. If we can change in some small ways, we can get accustomed to dealing with change and the bigger, less familiar changes will be easier to deal with.

This is quite an useful step. How often do we as an individual’s often opt to break the routine ? I tried to explore this concept in one of my earlier posts- Wake up, Shake up and then test... . But i didn’t quite cover how breaking the normal routines can help us prepare for bigger changes in life- be it personal or professional. Its quite a fact that most human beings by nature prefer thier lives/events to get predictable as much as possible so that they can avoid being out of their self-inflicted boundaries. Being in a predictable mode has its advantages but in a longer run it really hinder our preparedness for unexpected events in life. I think the key here is to enhance the "Preparedness levels" for a change. The reason most of the change events in our lives drains us mentally is majorly attributed to Preparedness Levels. There are many a times life prepares you to deal with changes and at other times when things tend to get predictable, it is apt push further break normal routines.
Being on this topic, i could relate very well with an beautiful article- Where is the Shark in your cubicle ? . Here is an Excerpt from this article-

Quite often, we underestimate the power of ‘positive pressure’ (some might prefer to call it a negative pressure, though) dismissing it as a constraining force rather than an enabling one. However, there might be situations where such tactics might actually be a good, rather better, way to get things done.
Don’t run away from the shark in your cubicle, and if you have none, start by putting a shark in your cubicle first.

"Shark" in this write-up is a metaphor that is used to equate with day-to-day situations that are unpleasant and make our thinking to stutter. Unless we consciously put Sharks in our work, we wont feel challenged enough to take ourselves to a greater heights. There is a mention of term- "Positive pressure" and the very mention of this term actually changes the perception one has about Pressure. The traditional version of Pressure is that something that causes discomfort and slows us down. Positive pressure indicates pressure helping to gain positive results. So, don’t scare the Sharks away, they might help you achieve greater heights and also help you prepare for the change.

Do you share your experiences and ideas on how you manage change in your lives!

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