How Easy is Change?

“It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You kind of shake it up and we start all over again.” ~ Eric Fehrnstrom

Such a cool childhood toy. An unsung predecessor to the iPad. Reflecting on the Etch-A-Sketch, I found it an apt metaphor for transformation, for change, for rebirthing (in a non-psychotherapy context).

With an Etch-A-Sketch you simply created a drawing by turning the two knobs simultaneously. What you created on the screen could be emblematic of anything: your potential, your beliefs, your attitude or your best stick-figure persona. As you created, you evaluated your results. (Okay, maybe as a child you weren’t evaluating but you get the point). πŸ™‚ And if you didn’t like the results, you just turned the screen upside down, gave it a shake, and started anew.

Looking at our lives, we want:

  • To feel
  • To learn
  • To grow
  • To stretch
  • To shift
  • To move through
  • To overcome
  • To embrace and trust our ability to transform, your self, your family, your community, perhaps, the world.

And you can. Often, it’s as easy as reviewing what you have created in your life. If you aren’t jazzed with what you’re facing, turn it upside down, shake things up a little, and move forward. Clean and fresh.

So how can you effect change, easily? Here are three starters for your consideration:

  1. Be honest with yourself. Most people around you won’t be honest with you. Human nature steers us away from conflict and hurting others feelings so it’s important to be able to identify your abilities and limitations and understand how others perceive you. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you adapt.
  2. Focus on what you can do. People fail because they immediately attach their attention to the negative. They do (though some of you may find this surprising)! Change your thinking and work the part of your plan you can. Do everything you can.
  3. Share yourself. Too often, we miss the value of sharing our feelings. We don’t want to be vulnerable so we hold back. In doing so, we deprive others of our experience, our learning and our humanity. When you share from your own experiences, you increase your empathy, you’re more approachable and you increase your relatability to others.

The moon changes effortlessly. Any reason you can’t too?

53 thoughts on “How Easy is Change?

  1. Yeah, I’m currently going through a lot of changes in my life. Hopefully, most of them are for the better. But I’ve had naysayers around me trying to discourage me from doing what I want – like my planned career shift into an unstable industry or starting up my own company – but I told them that though I acknowledge the not-so-pretty stats of success in my industry, I know who I am and what I can do. I know that I have what it takes to succeed with my plans if only I give my best effort to it. πŸ˜€

    • Reggie, you know who you are and what you can do. Do you need any more inspiration? πŸ™‚ Give it your best and see where it takes you. Practice patience and dispel the naysayers — if your gut speaks clearly to you!

  2. Love the Etch-A-Sketch analogy…yes, sometimes we just need to turn things upside down and give life a good shake. Your three “recommendations” absolutely essential to make the transition to the new as smooth as possible, regardless I think any change always brings about a little fear (which is good as well). As you say, move forward and do not get caught up with fear/negativity as that is where failure (and greater fear) thrive.

    • “…transition to the new…” I like that phrase. I’m wondering how many people haven’t viewed the accompanying fear (that comes with change), as the thrust or the fuel that helps get them to that “new”? As long as one is aware that there may be some negativity along the way, that simply becomes a challenge with knowledge of it in advance.

      Glad you enjoyed the Etch-A-Sketch analogy. Thanks, too, for comments that always widen the topical aperture.

  3. Eric, the Etch-A-Sketch joke was hilarious! It’s especially fitting for me since I am an “Apple Virgin”. No I-Phone, I-Pad, I-Pod, no I anything. My friends are often aghast at my old fashioned flip phone! So, obviously change in some areas of my life is not easy!

    I’ve been listening to a book on tape about “neuro-plasticity” about how our brains are actually able to rewire themselves and allow us to not only think differently, but do differently. I’ve learned about a blind man whose brain relearned how to ‘see’ and other amazing situations.
    My own experience with change has been dramatic. Going from an angry, out-of-control survivor to a grateful, calm, and compassionate thriver. I am living proof we humans can change! πŸ˜‰

    • Glad the post had a humorous element for you, Denise.

      And, of course, we humans can change. It’s as simple as starting out with a conscious choice. You, yourself, are evidence of effecting change, even of it hasn’t been easy. There are times when it’s not, especially if we resist it.

      Neuroplacticity is a fascinating field, with oodles of information available about it. Here’s to your continuing to choose what you’d like to change in your life! πŸ™‚

  4. Wonderful post, as usual, Eric! The Etch-a-Sketch sure brought back some happy memories! I seem to be going through a phase of change that is out of my control — aging. It’s inevitable in all of us but the good thing is, I’m still experiencing it! πŸ™‚

    • I glad the Etch-A-Sketch brought back memories. It was intended to. πŸ™‚

      While growing chronologically is a fact of life, we certainly can “control” the manner in which it affects us and if/how we choose to entertain change. Enjoy the current “phase,” Linda. Experience it for all that it’s worth!

  5. Wonderful post, Eric. This picture made me laugh! I enjoyed the message even more from a place of lightness! Thank you!

    • I’m glad it generated laughter, Carrie. I has a smile when I first set eyes on the image. πŸ™‚ Enjoying from a place of lightness… how simple and wonderful that is! Appreciate your kind comment.

    • Thank you, Jo Nell. It’s always good to have you stop by and share your pleasant thoughts. The chronologically gifted are not only blessed with surprises but with the wisdom to recognize and enjoy many of them. Stay well. πŸ™‚

  6. The image at the outset evoked a good belly laugh. And yes… I was judging my performance on the Etch-a-Sketch as a child… πŸ™‚ Not enough control with just two little knobs…! I was similarly devastate by my early Lite Brite efforts as well… I’m still recovering from those early self-critical tendencies. In fact, while I embrace your message, I am thankful that change in life is not so easy as on the Etch-a-Sketch, and that we are forced to dig deeply into the material we have been given, for that is where the riches are to be found.

    Thanks for the insightful sharing…


    • Michael, I think it is fair to acknowledge that most of us are recovering. πŸ™‚ And I agree that we have opportunities to dig deep and reap the fruits of desires and efforts. I also believe that effecting desired change in our lives doesn’t always have to be a Herculean effort. Often, the riches to be found are at our feet, simply waiting for us to choose.

      Always appreciate your stopping by and sharing thoughtful comments.

  7. Yeah, sharing. For men that tends to be hard. I would think for your generation it would be even harder. I listen to kids talking in the hall. The boys learn quickly to put up a bravado when a good vent would do them good.

    • Interestingly enough, at least in my work, it’s men of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds. The wall knows no boundaries. There is a discernible shift underway but it’s no tsunami of change. As well, there those among my generation who have finally ‘figured it out’ and are quite good at comfortably expressing their feelings and emotions. Quite simply, it’s a choice… Man cave or liberating.

  8. When facing any kind of change, challenge, or quite literally anything, I am always reminded of The Great Bard’s words, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet).

    • Ahh, yes, Michael. Thinking. To my above reply to Steven, there is expansiveness and growth is using our feelings and emotions when effecting change. Exclusive reliance on the intellect is limiting. Thanks for bringing Wm. into the exchange.

  9. The Etch-a-Sketch and accompanying quote gave me a nice giggle!! Thanks for that πŸ™‚ I really enjoy how you supplement your words with such vibrant images, that way of communicating really speaks to me. I like to think it allows your readers to weave in and out of left brain thinking, adding in a little right brain “ahhh” every now and then. Or maybe I just like pictures πŸ™‚ Either way, Bravo!!

  10. Amanda, your comment is thoughtful and appreciated. If only I could figure out the process behind what I write, I might even get good at it. πŸ™‚ I’m warmed that you like pictures, too. A visual learner here who is glad the Etch-A-Sketch + quote gave you a nice giggle.

  11. Wonderful post Eric! Delightful insights started off with a great burst of opening laughter. Being vulnerable can be scary but it’s also where the good stuff is. Thanks for this great post. πŸ˜‰
    Blessings, Gina

  12. Please pardon the delayed reply, Gina. So glad you enjoyed the opening words. πŸ™‚ I hear and echo your thoughts on being vulnerable. It’s what makes we humans more real! Thanks for you kind comment.

  13. Pingback: Where is my iPad? | THE COASTAL CRONE

  14. Found this post through Coastal Crone. She’s right, it’s terrific. Love the image (I have an iPad and my kids had an Etch a Sketch) and I love the subject. What is more intriguing and challenging than change, i.e., transformation!

    • Thank you, Esther. And in absentia thank you, JoNell, for virtually connecting us. Just visited your blog and was amply impressed with the two posts I read. Ergo, my pleasing follow. Appreciate your creating time to stop by and kindly comment.

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