Why We Resist Change

Many people do not like change.  They just don’t like it and are not sure why or cannot even begin to come up with a reason, they just don’t like change, it upsets them.  In the hopes of eliminating yet one more frequently repeated negative state  which limits the potential of ones  life, we shall attempt to explain the reasons for a dislike of change and the necessity of it.

A need to change a decision or plan is due to finding that the previous decision was not the best thing to do, that is why you change your plans.   Either by mistake in your previous choice or, new circumstances have occurred which give other or better options for your life that where not previously available.

To be unhappy with change means that you would rather stay with an inferior decision or plan because your ego does not like to be wrong.  Since effectively when you make a decision and change that, you are saying you where wrong by now having to change your plans.

People do not like to admit they are wrong, it makes them feel inferior or incompetent,  low self esteem.   The idea is that we feel frustrated and wish we could do everything right.  That is an ego failure.   Wisdom knows that it is impossible to be able to make the right decision all the time as the world is changing, new things happen and we simply do make mistakes.  The biggest mistake of all is of course finding that you made a mistake and sticking to it rather than changing to the better choice.

If one can see that, as a human, we are very flawed, that the world is changing very fast, and that there is so much information we can never take everything into account all at once, then we can accept that we will make many wrong decisions.

This is due to several reasons.  First, that we are not so smart as to be able to know the right choice all the time, next, that we are limited by our own capacity and also by the information that we have, which could be incomplete.  If we waited to get all the information before making a decision, we would never do anything because new information is coming all the time.

So being unhappy with change is to say that you have an ego that does not like to admit it was wrong.  You do not like to admit your limitations.  But there is no way around that, we are limited and flawed and the information we deal with is always incomplete, so making the right decision the first time is really a lot of luck.  Therefore change and the flexibility to change is the only way to succeed in a long healthy life.

We can increase our luck in making the right decision by developing a stronger mind, learning more things and searching for as much knowledge as possible.  But more importantly the best way to increase the chances of making the right decision more often is to develop intuition and sensitivity to the environment and other people.

This involves a taming of the ego, developing a permanent or at least available on demand state of a calm mind, learning how to ponder and observe rather than just intellectually analyse with limited information, and to remove oneself from the equation.  That means thinking purely objectively.   The more these skills are developed, the quicker the response time in arriving at the best decision will become.

In the Tao Te Ching, the author  Lao Tzu tells of the benefits of flexibility. Using an old tree whose limbs are stiff as an example, a windstorm breaks the stiff limbs and kills the tree.  But a young tree, still flexible, bends in the wind and is unharmed.  And so the ridged are in harmony with death, while the flexible are in harmony with growth and life.

The older you get, the more fixed in your ways you become, that is at least a common occurrence.   Flexibility in all things cultivated by regular change keeps you young and your mind sharp as well as eliminating a tremendous amount of negative emotions and the conflicts and waste of energy that goes with it.

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One Response to Why We Resist Change

  1. Christopher July 17, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    Great article, great explanation.

    After reading this, I can see how ego prevented me from making worthwhile changes in the past.

    Will look for the ego’s influence next time I’m resistant to make a change that is otherwise for the better.

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