Being Flexible With Change

“In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” ~ Warren Buffett

The noun transition, defined: “movement, passage, or change from one position, state, subject, concept, etc., to another change.” Transitions can be periods of considerable personal and psychological growth. They can be exciting, creative, and freeing. They can also be confusing or frightening. Whatever the case, they are necessary and natural stages of our personal development.

Sometimes transitions quietly emerge, almost stealth-like. Other times you see or sense them coming. Still others strike out of the clear blue. They can be random and they can be predictable. And they happen to us at every life stage. Here are a few…

  • betrayal by someone you trust
  • puberty
  • a shocking event (fire, theft, natural disaster, etc.)
  • lifestyle choices
  • an affair
  • spiritual growth
  • a serious illness
  • midlife
  • job loss
  • empty-nesting

We all need to manage a host of events during our lives. And we need to look at how change impacts our roles, routines, and relationships to understand how a transition is affecting your life and the lives of those around you. Moving through transitions often requires focused effort to address, understand, cope with, and embrace the change.

Whether you are 30, 50, or 70, there are ways to smooth the transitions you experience. Here are five to consider:

  1. When a change feels most stressful, relief can often be found in finding the good that it brings. An illness, financial loss, or a broken relationship can seem like the end of the world (and yes, I’ve experienced all three), yet they also can be blessings in disguise.
  2. Remember that all change involves a degree of learning. If you find change particularly stressful, try to keep in mind that after this period of transformation has passed, you will be a wiser person for it.
  3. Remember that upheaval and confusion are not often natural parts of change. While we can anticipate certain elements that a change might bring, it is impossible to know everything that will happen in advance. Be prepared for unexpected surprises.
  4. Don’t feel like you have to cope with changing circumstances or the stress of making a change on your own. Talk about what’s going on for you with a friend. Sharing your feelings can give you a sense of relief while helping you find the strength to carry on.
  5. No matter how large or difficult a change is, you will eventually adapt to these new circumstances. Remember that regardless of how great the change, all the new that it brings will eventually weave itself into the right places in your life.

It doesn’t always need to look or feel like this. 🙂

22 thoughts on “Being Flexible With Change

  1. As always, such a good, relative post. When people have difficulty with change, they must be reminded that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, not even the Earth, not even the Sun! Change is inevitable. Hence my post “How much difference does it make”.

    • Thanks, Ryan. I always appreciate your candid views. Concurring that change is inevitable, yet people can be change averse or change fluid, then would it not – in some cases – make a difference? If “it” didn’t make a difference, would we still have varied perspectives? 🙂

  2. Good words to read this day, as I reflect on all the change has occurred in my life over such a relatively short time frame. Throughout it all, while I have often been mired down by the mess of tracks going nowhere, I have found my way out each time and grown from each experience. We are none immune to change.

  3. Another wonderful reflection, Eric. Breaking my ankle this year was a disaster – I thought. But when in hospital they discovered (and fixed) quite a few health issues that I didn’t know were looming!

    • Nice! So by involuntarily being in an unplanned space, others were able to help you become aware and then, thoughtfully, address or plan for some change. I sense you are appreciative of this. Thanks, too, for your kind acknowledgment, Bruce.

  4. Yes, another excellent post.

    The first one is, I find, of vital importance. Looking for the good in everything will draw the good toward us. Everything that happens — bad or downright terrible — always has good somewhere. We just have to look for it.

    When something not-so-good (I prefer to avoid using the word ‘bad’) happens to me, I get rather optimistic knowing that something good is right around the corner.

    Thanks, Eric.

    • Thank you, Michael, for your thoughtful and spot on comments. I recognize that this (transitions and change) are a tough pill for some to follow. Yet once one has had the experience they so often find that the pill actually tastes good. 🙂 I like your “around the corner” optimistic frame. 🙂

  5. Enjoyed your essay! Speaking of awareness… your words also remind me of one of the major lessons I’ve learned in my life; by being sensitive (aware) to what’s happening around you, the most endearing and fruitful experiences in anyone’s life are always free and simple. Thank you.

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