Fear and Change

Today I experienced what it looks like to deal with people who are seriously change-averse. I gathered a few quotations about change and fear that I would have loved to share with some of these people but could not. So, I’m sharing them here along with some of my own insights about change and fear.

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. ~Harold Wilson

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory. ~W. Edwards Deming

Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially scared me to death.  ~Betty Bender

I have accepted fear as a part of life – specifically the fear of change…. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says:  turn back.  ~Erica Jong

Whatever course you decide upon,
there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.
There are always difficulties arising
which tempt you to believe that your critics are right.
To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. ~Maya Angelou

There are so many more but these are just a few of the ones that resonate for me.

I learned a few years back at The Option Institute to think in terms of stimulus-belief-response. That is the notion that rather than being creatures of stimulus-response — something happens and we respond to it instinctively — we are creatures of stimulus-belief-response — something happens, we choose a belief to assign to it, and we react accordingly. The belief itself is a choice. We know this is true because two people can respond to the exact stimulus in completely differently.

Example: Tonight we took our kids out to Rita’s for water ice. While in line at the drive-through, we ran out of gas (stimulus). I would guess that most people would be upset, stomp around, get flustered about how to handle it, and feel genuinely miserable. We had no cell phones with us and no gas can. Our response, however, was to gather up our kids and walk to the nearest gas station, about a mile up the road. It was warm out, but much more pleasant than it had been for the past week or so, and it wasn’t quite dark. We really enjoyed our walk and our family time, we bought a small gas can and a gallon of gas, walked back, fueled the car and drove off to fill up. Our kids will remember it as a fun evening complete with water ice, a nice walk, and a little story to tell. Can you guess what our belief was? It certainly wasn’t that our evening was ruined over something like an empty gas tank! No fear, no worry about changing our plans, simply a plan of action and a choice to enjoy it.


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