Why You Should Always Be Anticipating Change

Four questions you can ask to embrace an open-to-change mindset

Editor’s note: 9-11 was a catalyst for change in the way we think and in the way we live. On this twelve anniversary of 9-11 we thought it appropriate to embrace change in remembrance of all those who lost their lives and sacrificed for our country. 

As frequently as people report they want change, it’s more likely they find comfort in the status quo. This is true in both times of stability and times of turbulence, when people are seeking a return to the familiar.

Historically, there’s been merit to this. Our brains evolved over time to seek patterns that are familiar—foods, people and situations, for example—and to use that familiarity as a safety net. But change is Inevitable, and carefully embracing it may be the key to success.

Finding a Balance in Change

Ultimately, the question is not whether you will change, but where you stand in the process of change. Most change is gradual, although it can appear fast when you miss it. When the car began to replace the horse-drawn carriage, there were probably many carriage makers who felt as if they had been though a whirlwind. More recently, Polaroid and RIM (Blackberry) had time to adapt to change but either failed to see or embrace it.

On the other hand, there are individuals who follow new trends without looking first. However, we know that jumping into unfamiliar waters can land you in hot water. In fact, that sort of reckless change doesn’t usually lead to success. After all, how many businesses have invested in technologies, services or business models too quickly only to end up paying the price in the end? So it’s vitally important to find the balance between missed opportunities and reckless change.

Success Involves Positioning Yourself to Anticipate Change

It may seem as though change is more rapid today compared to 10 years ago, but it nonetheless remains incremental.

Facebook, long before its emergence as a social-media powerhouse, was seen in some ways as an incremental change to MySpace. (Similarly, Pinterest and Instagram are now perceived as incremental changes to Facebook.) Jumping onto MySpace in 2003 may not have helped a business grow, but paying attention to the trends during the ensuing six years could have laid the groundwork for future success

Embrace an “Open to Change” Mindset

Change is in our nature. As much as our brain seeks familiar patterns, it also seeks constant stimulation. In fact, once our brain becomes familiar with something, it takes more of the same to keep it active. For example, the brain is happy to receive new input, but it likes to organize the world by placing this input in contextual patterns. This is why we “see” familiar images such as faces or animals in stains on the wall or clouds in the sky.

But embracing an open-to-change mindset doesn’t mean you have to change. There are times when standing still is the best option because being open to change allows you to be ready when the time is right.


Tara Orchard
Tara Orchardhttp://ca.linkedin.com/in/taraorchard
Tara Orchard is a coach, trainer, consultant and writer who applies her insights into people and Masters training in psychology to facilitate performance improvements, relationships and communication for people and businesses. She has worked with organizations to deliver clarity on culture and brand, develop their people and manage relationships with social network communities. Over the past 18 years she has consulted with 1000's of people who want to make effective transitions in their lives. Tara has a knack for hearing what people are thinking and helping them see what they need to see. She is the founder of her own career and social network coaching business, works with several other organizations as a coach and consultant and is about to complete her first book on the "psychology of effective social networking".

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