Shifting gears

Shifting gears

Like it or not, change is inevitable. We change jobs, move houses and make new friends. However, how we perceive change varies from person to person. Ever wondered how this works?

Do you feel like you are hit with a stress bomb every time your life takes a turn? You might need a little more practice. Train your brain and get familiar with the concept. If you experience change in a variety of ways, it will allow you to operate with the understanding that change is something you can survive and even benefit from. The information stored in your mind will then provide evidence that stress is unnecessary. Of course, getting to this point is easier said than done. You need to take driving lessons to learn how to switch gears in the same way you need to take life lessons to learn how to handle change.

Each person has a certain model in their brain which contains some idea of how life is supposed to be. When things in that model alter, you move out of your comfort zone. The paradigm you have of life is very personal and develops throughout time, but is for the most part established during childhood. We tend to gravitate back to our experiences we have as children because that is when our paradigm is set up. Childhood experiences become prototypes that future experiences are compared to. That paradigm in your mind is like a circle: a personal circle of change. The middle part is your comfort zone, then you have a discomfort zone and the outside ring is the panic zone. The size and content of the comfort zone is different from person to person. For example, in my case, changing jobs causes more stress than moving houses because I have moved houses several times before. This could be considered in my comfort zone, changing jobs, slightly outside of it.

Sometimes it is not the outcome of change you are afraid of, but the concept of change in itself. For some people, the very nature of change is in their panic zone. When they hear ‘change’ their mind automatically shifts to negative thoughts, often because of a prior experience which is now engraved in their paradigm. These thoughts are along the lines of: ‘It takes so much energy’, ‘I don’t know how to deal with insecurities’ and ‘What if I get disappointed?’ The good thing about thoughts is that they are just that, thoughts. They may wash up on the beaches of you mind, but you will always be able to choose which ones you pick up.
When you are confronted with change and negative thoughts pop up into your head, focus on ‘disposing’ a negative thought with a positive one. Something like this:
That change takes up energy at first is inevitable, but often change occurs when you are not happy with where something is going now. In that case, change might be a good thing and provide you with more energy over the long term. When a plant does not grow, you change its environment, not the plant.
As for insecurities, they are open seas in which you can discover the most incredible islands. You may not feel in control of the possibilities but you don’t always have to know the destination for it to be beautiful.
Lastly, possible disappoint is also possible success.

Sometimes life is like cruising on a highway and there is not a cloud of change on the horizon. Other times we stumble upon a dirt road or have to take a sudden turn. That is when we have to shift gears to adjust to a new situation. If you are an experienced driver you don’t even think about it, you just go. That is exactly how to handle change, just go. It will bring you places.