-Growth: Where Does Life’s Changes Leave You?-
This piece looks at change and growth particularly from the point of view of personal growth. It will look at this topic in three parts: How does change find you? How you prepare for change – Growth happens. And, where does change leave you?
Introduction: The Inevitability of Change
As we know, there is the common saying that “The only thing that does not change is change”. Isn’t this really so true? It surely is. Think of when you were a child and how everything around you looked so permanent. If you were like me, I never imagined that the very comfortable times, with dad and mum around and the great times we had as kids would one day change. Kids hardly have any care in the world.
Any environment kids find themselves easily look like that’s how and what life is and will ever be. Of course, you and I have grown up to see that so much have changed from what we knew as kids. When you look back, it can actually feel amazing, depending on what you experienced!
Besides childhood, even as adults, if you do a review of your life, you would see that things have changed even when you lived in circumstances that felt like they would last forever. At some point, you wonder if you would come out off a certain experience. Guess what. You did. When I think about this, I just think that God had fun making the universe and life itself such a dynamic experience.
Even nature has its share of fun going through series of changes. There are volcanic eruptions, landslides, earthquakes, rains, night to day, day to night, growth and death of plants and animals, physical growth itself, changes in the weather and climate, and so many of such changes happening all around us daily. Humanity itself has always evolved and developed by adapting to change.
Does this not leave us with a lesson that the Maker of the universe intended that life be dynamic and full of changes? So, what happens along the way when we get so set in our ways and resist change with all our might? Yet, change, we know, is the only thing that does not change.
So whether we resist change or not, we all agree that change will surely come. Change will definitely happen. However the question of interest here is: when change comes, how does it find you and in what state and level will it leave you as it moves on?
How Does Change Find You?
Change will happen, opportunities will come, but how does it find you?
Will it find you with:
- Your set ways of doing things (fixations)
- Expectations that others will do the needful for you
- The hope and prayer that things will get better for you
- Your usual old habits of blaming something or someone, giving excuses for where you are and complaining about everything
- Wishful thinking and pipe dreams you have no plans of doing anything about
- Fears of venturing into new grounds and new territories outside your comfort zone
- Same limiting beliefs and philosophies about who you are and what you can achieve
- Same attitudes/behaviours that have not helped you beyond where you have always been
- Same old friends who simply sit down, gist, recount old memories and past glories, and count as the months and years roll by
- Associations and positions that help you benefit from public loots and stroke-of-the-pen financial gains
- Sexual abuse of kids (rampant within families and neigbourhoods)
- and the list goes on.
The truth is, you are better than that. As we age, at least let us get better, not worse. And besides, you have the power to influence the level of change and its impact on you when it happens. Sticking to your limited thoughts beliefs, and holding on to your old self-concept about what you can achieve would take you nowhere except into a more social life (which are escapes and compensations), a tired body, and unexcited mind, and an old age full of quiet regrets.
Others around you change and move on, while you sit around waiting for something great to suddenly happen, or to one day come your way. No, you can be active about the changes that come to you.
We are told that there are three kinds of people: those who wonder why things happen, those who watch things happen and those who make things happen. Where do you belong? The first two groups are passive about change, while the later are active change agents. Agents of change make things happen.
Actively create opportunities. Actively create and instigate change. Yes, because you can.
How do you actively create change?
- Identify your areas of passion and interest
- Work boldly, courageously and smartly to make positive change in that area
- Take responsibility for your actions as you go along doing this
- Don’t relent if you are convinced that this is for the greater good and common good of all.
In this way, change will find you actively creating change. Be proactive with your life through the power of decision making, direct action, and execution of plans. So, you create opportunities, rather than wait for it to happen, to come your way, or wait for it to be created by others.
Preparing for Change – Growth Happens
Since we already agree that change will always come, then we can as well prepare for it actively, as earlier mentioned. You prepare for change, not because you know what it will be or because you know exactly how it will look like, but because by your preparation you can influence your experience of that change and you can also influence the impact that change will have on you and others (under your influence).
You actively prepare for change thus:
- Developing positive, unlimiting, uplifting and empowering thought patterns (ways of thinking) about yourself in every area of your life. This will in turn influence how you see others, relate with them and how you handle situations. There is usually a lot of work to do in yourself in this area, if you really know the gravity of it. It is also a beautiful journey to undertake.
- Developing the right attitudes: looking out for what is best and positive in people and situations; being able to find solutions and new ways of achieving things
- Developing habits that keep you on track whatever you set out to achieve: your daily actions, steps you take regularly, what you do, and how you use your time
- Developing qualities such as discipline, focus, resilience, courage, commitment, ability to execute – come what may, and so on.
- Developing the quieter side of you, such that you are better able to commune with your inner self (your soul), and with the Divine. You can form the habit of spending some quiet time daily, in quietness and listening. You may call this prayer or meditation. In a noisy world, these quiet moments help us refocus and keep us in touch with our purpose.
In this process of preparing for change, this is where growth happens. Growth refers to developing one’s self mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It requires commitment to personal growth and continuing in along the path of growth persistently.
Where Does Change Leave You?
I had a discussion with my son related to change and he asked me, “What if change comes and you are still where you are”. I thought this was a very interesting question to think about. An extension of that question would be, “Does it mean change did not take place for that person?”
Change will happen but will it be a passive change or an active one that leaves you at a level you have prepared yourself to be at? When change comes your way, you either react to it or you respond to it. Passive change is reactionary and active change is responsive. Whether a change is a passive or active change for you depends on if you have prepared yourself for it.
Passive change: Here, when something new hits you; a new revelation, a new way of doing something, an observation, a remark, a feedback, an unexpected event, you react. You get angry, curse, and/or resist the change.
Active change: Here, when change occurs, you are able to see how it fits into all you have been doing and preparing, and you respond.
When change is engaged in actively, it will leave you stronger, more confident, more resolute to grow, improve and become a better person. A great change will take you to the next level, teach you new lessons, open new doors and opportunities, and achieve those goals you have been working towards. In this way, you set even higher goals and the growing and changing just continues.
Make change and growth a norm in your personal life. This means striving for that best self you can be. Prepare, grow and let change find you ready to take on and step into your next level of greatness in fulfilling your mission and purpose in life.