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, its 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, theres been merit to this. Our brains evolved over time to seek patterns that are familiarfoods, people and situations, for exampleand 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 doesnt 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 its 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 doesnt 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.