Why Change is the Only Constant in Life, and Why That is a Good Thing
Heraclitus said so very long ago that “change is the only constant in life”. The same philosopher is remembered after the quote “panta rhei”, meaning “everything flows/everything is transient”. Spoken over two millennia ago, those quotes never held true as much as they do today, with the Covid-19 pandemic as a cruel reminder that nothing can be taken for granted.
Even though the 21st century is known for rapid change, just until some months ago the trajectory of most things was to an extent predictable, known, and subject to planning. We went to work, sat in the office with our colleagues, went to cinemas, theatres and restaurants in the evenings – it was business as usual. The business itself was also usual. Business’ flows advanced in a relatively predictable fashion, at least to those individuals tasked with their strategic analysis. Plans were made based on the current situation, which was somewhat known and understandable. But then came the pandemic, and with it some significant changes happened.
Most of us started telecommuting from home, so we see our colleagues through video conferencing. Our visits to cinemas and theatres were replaced with reading books on the terrace (or in our yards if we are lucky to have one) and watching Netflix. The business world is not “usual” any longer as well. Many companies and business sectors suffered a major blow. On the other hand, there were those companies and industries to which the pandemic brought an increase in workload. Nevertheless, the only thing that the pandemic brought to everyone equally is uncertainty and insecurity – the aspects of change responsible for all our reluctance and anxiety at its mention.
Humans found ways to spot regularities and constants in the ever-changing world, as a sort of survival mechanism. Without those regularities the world would be chaotic and unfathomable. Every daylight cycle would be a crisis of epic proportions. Those regularities we perceive in fact make up all our knowledge and experience and our worldview. They are our unique pair of glasses without which we would be left totally blind.
Let us circle back to the example we first mentioned, though. Our everyday constants included leaving for work in the morning and spending your day at the office going about your usual tasks. Periodic irregularities to this pattern were expected and you learned how to handle those too. When push came to shove, you turned to your colleagues, right there beside you. The projects you were working on and the overall business performance of your entire company were also constant to an extent. You had quarterly plans, yearly plans, next year plans and so on. But then there was the Covid-19 outbreak and we all remember how that went, what difficulties we had to face and which ones we are facing still. So, let us ask you a few questions… How are you feeling? What are you doing now and what did you have to do differently since the outbreak?
You are probably anxious, uneasy and insecure, not knowing what to do and how to behave, and your stress reached peak levels. That unique pair of glasses we mentioned above is probably so foggy you can’t see straight. Additionally, actions which worked so well for you in the past now don’t bring the desired results and effects. If you recognize yourself in any of this, worry not. You are not alone because all of what we mentioned is the usual response of many when faced with change, especially unwanted one. Even positive change, such as a wedding or childbirth, can trigger resistance and discomfort, adding to the amount of stress we feel. The reason why we are feeling in such a way stems from being unable to predict how things will turn out after the change and therefore we can’t figure out a correct course of action.
However, therein lies the charm of change – in order to face change and to adapt, we have to acquire new knowledge, perceive new constants, replace our foggy lenses with new ones for fresh perspective. The change of circumstances will trigger a change in ourselves, such is the nature of things. It is almost impossible for something in our lives to change without triggering an additional change in us as well, no matter if it brings us new experience or a new set of skills which will make us act differently in the future. It is just like becoming a parent and entering a whole new role that comes along with it.
So, no matter how bleak and undesirable it might seem at first, every change is a new opportunity for learning, growth and development. If you desire to get the maximum out of every change you face, join us in the program name “The master of change” on Thursday, 10.09.2020. at 10:00 and find out what the mechanisms for successful adaptation to change are. Start looking at unforeseen events as opportunities for improvement – which they actually are. Apply HERE so YOU can become THE MASTER OF CHANGE!
Author: Milica Marjanovic
HR Consultant for People Development
Milica holds a master’s degree in psychology and is a psychotherapist in constructivist psychology and education, with over three years of experience in human resource management. Her experience was previously focused on the areas of recruitment, assessment centers and development as well as team and project management, and that led her to finally direct her career towards HR consulting and professional development. Additionally, Milica is a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitator and Manager as Coach.