On Embracing Change

The first two decades of a human life are entirely dedicated to constant change and development, both mental and physical. By the time you turn 18 and are graduating high school, you’ve gone from a fetus to a fully functioning human being. That sort of growth is amazing, considering where you started. Newborn children are fairly helpless creatures. They don’t communicate well, they’re sort of ugly (be honest), and they can’t drive to get the groceries for another 16 years. On day one, a baby can’t do much else than cry. At age 18, it continues to cry but has developed other skills and abilities as well—remarkable!

Being able to grow up enough to be trusted in a metal missile with four wheels called a Toyota Corolla is why change is so beautiful. We easily recognize the opportunity a newborn child has to grow and develop to become a brilliant human being, and so we care for the child, and teach the child, and protect the child relentlessly, to make absolutely sure that they get a chance to change the world in the same way they changed ours.

Change can be intense, quick, and often scary. By the age of six, you’re in a public school building meeting a bunch of other goofball children, and you’re all trying to figure the world out by way of building blocks and storytime. By 14, you’re as uncomfortably aware of yourself as can be, and now your voice does odd things that you can’t control. By 18, you’re legally an adult and will be tried as one in the court of law whether or not you realize that by the time you get there (try not to). These are scary changes that are difficult to deal with, yet, they’re the most necessary changes in your entire lifetime. Around age 25, everyone is biologically ready to be a contributing member of society. But how many 25-year-olds are creating meaningful, positive change for the world?

Sadly, there comes a point when many people cease to develop and change. It’s in plain sight all around us: the married father of two who has worked in the same cubicle for 18 years and hated every minute of it, the college graduate who refuses to move out and create their own story, the nervous teenager who can’t ask a girl out. It all stems from an aversion to the unknown change. Fear.

There are three ways in which we must differentiate our thinking from people who won’t change in order to improve their lives. First, we must understand that our fear of change is, for the most part, irrational. Second, we must learn to embrace change, and then pivot with it. Finally, we must become fans of finality: we’ll be more than happy to leave the past behind.