“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
It’s a natural reaction to fear change. We like to remain in our comfort zone with what we know. We schedule our days around a routine. We like simplicity. But what happens when change is inevitable? How do we handle it?
There are two types of change; one that is in our control and one that is out of our control. Take Fight Club for example. The main character, Tyler Durden, became so fed up with his 9-to-5 cubicle life, filled with the same thing day in and day out, that he blew up his apartment. The suffocating feeling of his life mixed with material things finally came to a head in that moment where he said, “punch me in the face.” If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I won’t give anything else away. But I have to agree that there is a certain type of freedom in minimalism and letting go of things. Anyway, I digress. This type of change was initiated by him. He took a look at his life and realized it wasn’t that one that he had envisioned for himself.
The other type of change is out of our control. Take the presidential election for example. Yes, we can cast a vote and let our voice be heard, but sooner or later, there will be a president in the White House that we don’t approve of. At that point, the only thing we can change is our attitude. Creating fear and discourse, only to gain immediate gratification on social media, is one of the worst things anyone can do. Don’t get me started on social media. Again, I digress. The same goes with a boss at work, a teacher, a police officer, or anyone else that may have power and authority over us. Sometimes we have to suck it up and comply, even though we may not agree with them. Change the attitude, then make the change.
What about fear of change, though? As I said, most people don’t like change. If someone told you that you could be living the life of your dreams in the next 5 years, but would have to make a drastic change filled with uncertainty to do it, would you chance it? If a life of freedom and fulfilling work was absolutely guaranteed, would you be willing to go through the fire for it? It’s a question worth asking. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Personally, I fear living a complacent life. One that I didn’t choose for myself and for my family. Fear can be an incredible driving factor if channeled properly.
Not everyone feels the need for change. And that’s okay. But for those of us who do, the need often comes from pain. Or the realization that we’re living a life that we didn’t choose.
Our attitude must be the first to change. Without the right heart, all our efforts will be in vein.
First we must change our attitude. Then we can change our world.