I woke up this morning and quiet unusually, asking myself: what can I do better in the coming weeks/months to make me more effective? Am I serving my family, place of work and community effectively as I should? And how am I responding to development challenges and things that seem to challenge my thought patterns? And then the ultimate questions followed: Am I changing (for the better) or am I still clinging to my comfort zone? Am I growing, developing or just adding the number? What do I need to change or respond positively to today?
Such questions will most certainly come from the mind of people who have decided to commit themselves to a worthy course; individuals who are determined to ensure they monitor their progress in life and especially in a new year as they set to achieve their goals in a realistic perspective. But the answers didn’t come straight away. I asked myself another critical question: why do I so resist change sometimes even though I know its for my personal benefit? A follow up question to that is why do we all generally resist change despite realizing that if we continue in our current state we are bound to fail?
According to Anna Dornier, one word explains it all – COMFORT. “People like to live in their comfort zones. Change is uncomfortable – most of the time. You have to make new connections in your brain and you have to use willpower at first before you can make any change permanent or at least long lasting.”
“One thing I’ve learned throughout the years of setting goals and the process of achieving them is that we have to be COMFORTABLY UNCOMFORTABLE. This means always challenging ourselves to step out of our comfort zones, taking our game to the next level, and being comfortable there. This means never being satisfied with good enough. This means always thinking, “What can I do better?” or wondering, “How can I improve?””
People that changed the course of human history radically first started by becoming uncomfortable with the way things were going. Despite the fact that it will be a change that promotes equality for all, William Wilberforce struggled for 20years with his fellow parliamentarians in passing the Act that led to abolition of slave trade. take a few second to imagine life today without telephone or internet [Imagine how long it will take to deliver a letter. People would put a message into a little container on a carrier pigeon's leg. The bird would fly to the person receiving the message. Fast backward to 1870s and early 1990s when although the telephone came with certain initial challenges like hundreds of telephone wires becoming common in large cities, critics who resisted the use of telephone further claimed that the cellphone microwaves could beam through human heads thereby damaging nerves.
Another critical factor in making that critical change for the better is by setting up a right change support system. Many people fail to make lasting changes because they hang out with the wrong people. I once heard that we are the average of 10 people we surround ourselves with.
As much as this is about setting ourselves up for overall effectiveness, its touches briefly on accepting some changes we witness in our lives. For example wrinkles on our face, ears and nose grown larger, hair suddenly begin to recede leading to baldness. As Lao Tzu once said: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow”
I am hoping that like me, some of you reading this will respond positively to changes as they confront us. I personally have to respond having travelled so far from my home country in Nigeria and now settled in Canada, I recognise everyday, the need to constantly appreciate changing cultures, environment, society etc that will ultimately make me a better person overall.
Let me conclude by retorting that its also a spiritual process as God doesn’t want us to conform but that we are constantly changing (Romans 12:2).
So keep trusting, keep believing, keep changing for the better and never give up!