October 22, 2012

How Come Change Is So Difficult?

“Embracing change requires a willingness to let go of all habits, practices, and behaviors in the quest to discover a new path on the journey.”

A little over a week ago, I took a spill on my bike.  It had rained during my ride.  Even though it had rained while I was riding, I managed to navigate a route that enabled me to avoid getting soaked.  While my surrounding neighborhood got rained on, I can proudly exclaim I did not.

This does not mean I was able to avoid the effects of the rain.  When I came racing into my complex and made my normal aggressive right hand turn, the cobblestone driveway was slick enough to dump my ever so large frame onto the pavement with much style and grace — not!

After skidding to a stop, getting up, dusting myself off and discovering that everything was bruised but in its place, I started to feel the pain.  Now you would think that the right side of my body, the road rash, and the part that was bleeding was the source of the pain.  It was not.  The part that hurt the most — my left thumb!  My left thumb was throbbing and already turning purple as though I had hit it with a hammer instead of the nail!!

It is ten days later and everything has recovered, except the thumb.  It is slowly healing and is still quite sensitive.  Now that we have established I have a very sore left thumb, let’s talk about adapting and learning in the face of change.

The egg peeler is broken!

The other day I was going to have a couple of hard boiled eggs for my breakfast.  I tapped one of the eggs on the counter and went to peel it, only to realize then that my left thumb is the official egg peeler.  Because my left thumb was still disabled from the crash, I had to ask my right thumb to do something it had never done before — peel an egg.

Peeling that first egg with my right thumb required a very deliberate, focused, determined effort.  The shell was successfully separated from the egg; but, it took time, effort, and a lot of much smaller shell fragments.

When I went to peel the second egg, the entire process went a little smoother.  That right thumb was a little more prepared for the task and the shell was separated from the egg in half the time with a significantly reduced effort.

This is change in our lives.  We get into habits.  There are aspects of our lives that we simply and almost mindlessly assign to our minds and bodies without even thinking about it.  The tasks, activities and behaviors become almost second nature to us.  Until we have to change our habits, routines, behaviors, or processes everything we do is done out of a developed habit and accepted efficiency.

Until someone or something introduces or interrupts us with change.  Though, like the right thumb, we have discovered that the way we do things needs to be done differently.  It seems harder.  It certainly is much more deliberate.  It looks awkward.  And, it is certainly uncomfortable.  In order to grow, evolve, survive, thrive, or improve sometimes change is necessary.

The next time you find yourself resistant to change or you feel like the process is cumbersome, clunky, painful, or slow, remind yourself part of the change process is simply learning to adapt to doing things differently.   It is not always easy to embrace the notion of learning or discovering different behaviors.  It is not always fun to embrace different habits or processes.  Part of that is in the difficulty in breaking the old habit and creating a new one.  Remember, the old habit began by breaking the old one that preceded it.  You got pretty good at that habit when it was new. I am willing to bet you will get pretty good at peeling the egg differently this time, too.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.