After years of dealing with a mud pit, we decided to landscape our backyard. As we gathered everything and girded our loins for the big project, something unexpected happened.
Last Saturday, my dogs went berserk, staring out the window and barking loud enough to wake the neighborhood. I went outside to investigate and found two men trimming the trees in my neighbor’s yard. I took them some water (we’ve been having unreasonable heat here in Texas) and they mentioned they were cutting down one tree and trimming the other. When they finished, we had sun in our backyard for the first time in years. Now, instead of having to haul tons of rock and put down fake grass, we realized we could actually grow grass, which would save us time and money. Who cared if we already bought some of the other supplies? We decided to change our plans.
The entire incident got me thinking. If change can be good, why is our first response to hate it with the intensity of a thousand suns and resist it with every fiber of our being? How many times do you hear someone say, “but we’ve always done it this way”, “it’s working fine, why fix it?” or something similar? Why do we fight it?
Change is scary. I once stayed in a relationship for far too long because I was afraid of being on my own. And yet, when I finally broke it off, I discovered that one of the benefits of being single was that I didn’t have to worry about where I left things in my own house. It may sound trivial, but to me, it was control over my life – something that had been missing for a while.
Change takes work. When I first moved to Texas, I stayed with the same electric provider, even when I suspected I could save money because I didn’t want to do the legwork. It took the power company missing my payment (their fault) and sending me a shut-off notice in July to galvanize me into action. I did the legwork and lowered cut my bill by 40%. I regretted not taking action sooner.
Change challenges our preconceived notions. As human beings, our experiences influence our beliefs over time. For the longest time, I thought my husband hated the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He didn’t – he just liked to mock their fascination with California. He thought I hated NASCAR because I didn’t understand why anyone would get so excited over watching cars do laps. As I learned more about the strategy behind the sport (and got to watch it live from a track side country club), my opinion changed. We both had to correct our previous beliefs about one another to account for this new information.
Sure, change can be negative. And as the above examples illustrate, it can also bring about positive outcomes. Change is how we grow, learn and achieve. We just have to get our heads around the idea that taking the risk might just be worth it.