As human beings, we tend to fear change because of the unknown. I read something suggesting human beings are the only animals to look at the past with nothing but fondness and to the future with nothing but trepidation – even though there is almost no data to suggest anything but the opposite. In the grand scheme of history, albeit with a few minor dips, this has been true.
I love that idea and fully agree with it. In nearly every way we measure success, life continues to improve for most people on the planet. From drops in infant mortality to a universal increase in life expectancy, from rising literacy rates to the average standard of living. For the majority of us humans, life is getting better.
So, why does so much doom and gloom exist out there? Why do humans tend to freak out when faced with what is unknown and just around the corner?
I suggest this is primarily a result of our long-dormant survival instincts. Any kind of change could have been deadly for our ancestors. Most of us are comfortable with what is familiar. When this paradigm changes faster than we are accustomed, we don’t have the typical amount of time to adjust to the new normal. As a result, we feel uncomfortable. This discomfort often leads to people turning negative and opining for the good old days. Ah, yes – the comfortable, known days of the past.
You may fear change, but the recent pandemic did not care. The only promise you can truly rely on is that tomorrow will be different than yesterday. So, what can we do about it? Well, you can hope that things will not change, which is not the best strategy because life may end up passing you by. Or you can embrace the idea that our world has always been changing, believing that tomorrow will be different and better.
Candidly, I am not excited about our current economic debt, the overall rancor in politics, and the general paths various parts of our country are taking. However, I am excited because I trust that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. So much so, that I believe this is likely to occur in ways I cannot even begin to imagine. I find this incredibly thrilling and I believe there will be unending opportunities – opportunities in forms my little brain cannot yet comprehend. I do believe the overall intention and desire of most people (especially the younger generations) is to improve things.
Armed with this historical data that, on a whole, life is getting better, I personally believe the intention of society as a whole also wants to get better. I trust that our future will improve.
Embracing this thinking suggests that we are living in a new normal. A new normal of accelerated change that will probably result in a better life for most if we are willing to accept and adapt to the change.
It is with these beliefs that I challenge myself to embrace, support, and introduce others to consider this way of thinking. I am aware that I still have to do the work, be accountable, and understand that change and growth can be clunky. However, the results are worth it in the end. Adopting a proactive approach and embracing change will allow you to adapt, overcome, and thrive.
When it comes to the changes we face today, are you resisting and hoping that change won’t happen? Or are you embracing what might be possible in this new normal?