“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” Heraclitus
So why is it a disservice to think about change with the perspective of beginning and end, start and finish, or as attached to a defined period of time? Because when we do that, we miss all of the parts that occurred before, during and after the change, instead focusing on two points in time that highlight the event.
When we think differently about change, and accept that it is a constant, we can better recognize how each day brings little subtle changes that lead up to larger and more significant events, and that those larger and more significant events are an integral part of our bigger picture, instead of stand-alone events that happen in isolation.
If we consider change as a spiral, we can see certain replicating patterns that can also highlight beliefs that may consistently inform our perceptions and behaviors. When we see such patterns in terms of changes we like, we can reinforce them. When we see them in terms of changes we don’t particularly like, we can shift them. And we can reinforce or shift well before significant changes occur, perhaps even pre-empting those otherwise undesirable changes by paying attention to the more subtle changes we might otherwise overlook.
One other thing; when we shift our way of thinking about change from event-based-before-and-after to life’s constant evolution, the result is that we stand in the center of ourselves, of our lives, rather than on the outskirts as a reactionary bystander. We are able to become more proactive, intentional and conscientious of our choices and how they affect us, and, as a result, become distanced from the reactionary-victim-oriented-person-who-things-happen-to approach. Given the choice, which would you prefer?
Talking About Evolution
This is a well-known and oft quoted sentiment. Yet it seems that it is also something that is frequently forgotten when we’re facing changes that rise above and beyond those encountered in every-day life. We pay little attention to those small changes that happen regularly; when learning something new how one day we finally understand what we struggled to conceptualize before, or how despite measuring our children’s growth, we wake up one day and wonder when they’d gotten so big.
Change: Before and After?
When a more significant change takes place, even if it was expected, like moving to a new area or living space, the last day of work after giving notice, or the last day of school for our kids, we tend to gauge it in terms of before and after. Before the move and after the move. Before quitting my job and after quitting (or before starting my new job and after starting). Before the end of the school-year after school ended for the year. And while it makes sense to link aspects of a change to time, it can also be a disservice. When we think about change in terms of before and after, we create a belief that change has a defined beginning and end. Sure, there is a beginning and an end to the event, such as the new job, a move, or the school year, but there isn’t a defined beginning and end to the change, which is constant and evolutionary. It is more like a spiral than the straight line often imagined when thinking in terms of time.
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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