“No progress is possible without change.” ~ Walt Disney
Look in the mirror and tell me what you see.
Are you old Are there wrinkles on your skin? Did you notice the dark circles around your eyes and the white hair on your head?
You are seeing a major change from 10 years ago. Much of what you probably don’t like is the change as your body ages. Changes that cannot be resisted.
Look in the mirror again. Did you notice someone who is more confident? Is there anyone who is confident, optimistic and happy in life?
It happened a few weeks before I was preparing for the interview. I was talking to myself in the mirror in preparation. When paused, there was a moment of this realization that only noticed self-confidence, optimism, and positive energy.
This one epiphany has completely changed the way I see change.
That day, progress was seen in the mirror. I saw a shy, anxious child, a feared and bullied child, completely flipping the script and becoming a confident, happy and confident person.
We all react differently to change. Some of us want it. Some people don’t care, but they don’t actively look for it. And others don’t like it.
No matter where we stand, there is no doubt that none of us like it when change is forced on us. So we fight it because we feel out of control and the unknown is generally scary. But what if regaining control was all a matter of perspective?
The changes will be made automatically. It happens whether we like it or not, and we have no choice but to face it. It’s up to us to get the most out of it. We decide how to react to it and what to do with it.
Think of progress, not change
All progress is equal to change, but not all change is equal to progress. Losing your job is a change. It is progress that you decide to pursue a career that better suits your values and passions.
Progress makes us happy. It makes us want to jump out of bed every day with intent and purpose. Progress advances us. We need to work on it. Unlike changes, it is not automatic.
Whenever I look back on my progress, I always stop, smile, and be full of joy. It also renews my intentions for my own growth.
You can’t sit on your ass and hope to make progress. I need to move. It requires you to put in time. And in the process, it drives you to grow. Be someone who can deal with any problems that come your way.
Progress will ultimately give you 10 times more rewards! And it all starts with change.
Change can be painful and advances blessings
For many of us, change is always a concern. No need to look for an example. My parents are stressed by even the slightest signs of change.
If you’re like my parents, at the first sign of change, you start grunting and complaining. Instead of thinking about how this change will help your life, you start thinking about all the ways it can hurt you.
This is evident in the vocabulary we use when talking about change — scary, difficult, overwhelming. It is also clear from our actions towards those who drive us to change. We may recoil, resist, or resent them.
At the moment we are facing or experiencing many changes, we have the opportunity to recognize and excite the progress we can make, but instead we often Choose fear.
When we focus on the excitement of progress, we feel that change is far less scary and encouraged to take action. Curiosity, like survival, is one of our greatest instincts. We get well when we imagine new possibilities for fun and focus on what we can control to create them, rather than worrying about the unruly ones.
So the next time you face a change you didn’t choose, instead of asking …
What did I do to deserve this?
Why now? I’m not ready for this …
How does this drive me to progress?
What new experiences and opportunities will this bring?
What can you do to prepare for this?
It’s all a matter of perspective. The famous Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, understood this better than anyone else. In his book, he writes:
“There is a space between the stimulus and the reaction. That space has our power to choose our response. Our response has our growth and freedom.”
In one of my previous posts, I shared how I used to growl and complain. It was easy to play Victim Cards and think only about the negative effects of the change, completely overlooking the good things it could bring.
When I first moved to America, I didn’t like living there. I was forced to move against my wishes. I went from a carefree 18 year old kid to someone who had to do a minimum wage job to help pay bills and save money for college.
At that moment, I didn’t like it. I became angry and frustrated and constantly spent time looking for an escape route. But looking back, I think my work ethic is because I worked on the subway for five years. It helped me grow from an introvert to someone who could easily start a conversation with a stranger at a distance of one arm. Coming from a country where English is a second language, it has sharpened my English speaking skills.
In retrospect, this change has led to progress.
When the caterpillar turns into a butterfly, you see progress. And isn’t it beautiful?
Maybe it’s time you start looking at the changes in your life from the same perspective. You can think of it as an opportunity to lose the safety of your cocoons, or to transform into a beautiful, colorful, magnificent butterfly.
The choice is really up to you …