Naturally, I think I was wired to value consistency. Meaning, being inclined to value security and stability with income, relationships, health, surroundings, etc. The more things around me were stable, the more I would feel in control.
As I’ve gotten older, I realize that there is simply an element of unpredictability in things. As much as we would like to plan out everything to a high degree, things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes that’s because we don’t do the necessary things to reach goals that we have set, but other times it’s because things outside our direct control may have changed.
I’ve been thinking about this because many of us are eagerly working on our brand new goals for the new year, which have just been set. Some of them are quantifiable and specific, which is great! Admittedly, I do this too and really enjoy doing so. It’s fun to set ambitious targets and then actively work toward them.
That being said, we have to remain flexible and adaptable. Not only for the new year, but just in general. Things are always changing, and it’s great to be able to recognize this and embrace the reality of it.
I’ve seen people encounter different types of change over the years, with varied reactions. Some embraced and accepted change, while others didn’t. Seeing how those who were able to adapt went on to more success – financial and otherwise – makes me further appreciate this saying that’s supposedly to have originated from Ben Franklin
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished”
Here are some examples of change that I’ve seen people encounter. Some took a positive approach to change, and others didn’t.
When I was in high school way back when, most of the people were on the college track. However, some people thought that it would be no problem to work in a factory as labor, since this is what many people in their families had done. This was the approach despite the macro-level evidence that we were going away from a manufacturing/heavy industry economy.
I ran into one such guy about a decade after graduation, a guy who was a stud athlete who could probably bench press 350 pounds back in the day. We chatted for a short while, talked about a few people we graduated with and caught up in general. He seemed down about his work situation and career, which was basically a labor-intensive manufacturing job. It seemed like he couldn’t adapt, and a guy with a lot going for him was stagnant as a result.
On the other hand, I’ve known a few others who have changed and retrained as market demand evolved. One guy went from hard-core labor work in a dying industry to becoming an IT professional carving out a very nice living for himself. By being willing to totally drop the vocation that he had – which was likely what his father and grandfather had too – he adapted to the situation.
Changing Work Environment
Sometimes life can throw you a curveball. Two people I know dealt with situations where they had a new boss. They were in different companies, but things turned out differently for each anyway.
One guy ended up reporting into a new boss who was previously a peer. This guy felt that he was smarter than the former peer/new boss, and apparently that feeling was given off back when they were at the same level. He had difficulty accepting that he was now lower on the organizational chart than that other guy.
A good move might have been to accept reality and deal with the new situation. If this was a big problem, then find another job ASAP. But that’s not what he did. Ultimately, he left the company involuntarily and he ended up relocating to a different part of the country.
Another guy I know was in a situation where he was brought into a job based on a friendship he had with the hiring manager. The guy wasn’t qualified for the job, and this was apparent to most people working for him and with him as peers. Fair or not, this does happen. People get jobs sometimes based on who they know.
Anyway, when his friend – the boss – ended up getting a promotional opportunity in a different department, this guy was left vulnerable. After all, it was known he wasn’t very good (nor was he easy to work with), and now didn’t have his protector at his side. Smartly, he adapted and found a new job with another company within a matter of months.
Amazingly, the job seemed like a step up! I don’t know what happened to the guy after that, and he may have simply risen way beyond his level of incompetence. Regardless though, he was resilient enough to adapt. Thus, he accepted change and made the most of it.
Bottom Line: Accepting change, embracing it, and working on it proactively can help us prosper. Actually, it can protect us. Going back to the notion of security, maybe the way to financial security is by taking the path of change.
My Questions for You
Are you naturally inclined to embrace change, or is it something that you have had to work on?
Have you observed examples of people embracing change well? Or, not so well?