We are a goal-oriented culture. For some, it is especially exciting to check completed items off of our list, and for others, it’s just the joy and pride in reaching the summit.
Regardless of what it is that guides and motivates us, it is natural to consider a change - any change - as another thing to finish. Once this change has occurred, then we can move on with our lives.
However, our tendency to think of our change as the final frontier, as a destination, can get us into trouble. Here’s why:
1. We are always changing.
There really isn’t anything final about change, because we are always changing. It’s just what we choose to pay attention to that tends to make some changes stand out more than others.
2. The richness of change is in the journey.
By focusing on the outcome, we lose sight of the journey. And it is often the journey that offers us insights into ourselves, and how to more smoothly adapt to both our current, but especially future changes.
By missing those insights, it’s like we’re starting from scratch with each new change. Like a gerbil running in a perpetual treadmill.
3. Is that it?
When focusing on the outcome instead of the journey, we have a greater tendency to feel let down once our change is complete.
We spend so much time anticipating, dreaming, wondering, even fearing the outcome, that the actual change event pales in comparison to how we had imagined it.
4. But wait! There's more!
When we consider the change as ‘the end’ of something, we run the risk of expending all of our attention and energy on the goal and not enough on where we go from there.
An interesting study found that the majority of deaths from attempting to climb Mt. Everest occurred on their descent from the summit.
Appreciating the expansiveness of change.
Thinking of change as a finite experience is representative of a closed-mindset. Whereas a growth mindset offers a much more expansive view of things.
Here are some tips to make the shift, when finding ourselves fixating on the outcomes of our change:
For example, instead of focusing on how difficult it is to eat healthy, especially when in the season of comfort foods (for some of us at least), pay attention to how your body feels with healthier food as its fuel. Notice any changes in energy. Take your curiosity internal instead of focusing on the external deficits you might otherwise dwell on.
Remember, it’s not about the outcome though, it’s about what you do, and how you adapt, along the way.
Target the learning that can be had from having made the mistake, and make sure to highlight those things when discussing it with others. Now you know something you didn’t before. Isn’t that wonderful?
Shifting our perspective.
Some of the biggest challenges we face when adapting to change is because we lose sight of our journey and consider the change event the prize, instead of enjoying the rich learning opportunities along the way.
By consciously shifting our perspective from that of finisher to one of adventurer, we can ignite our curiosity and benefit from the vast richness our journey has to offer. Plus, it makes the art of change much more fun!
Stay tuned for our next post, Adventures In Change.
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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