In the Scheme of Things: The Problem with Change

It was annoying. First, a system upgrade on the platform which houses my two vintage shops was not completed in the announced timeframe. That meant I was unable to resolve customer queries received overnight. Then, my mouse stopped working. Replacing its batteries didn’t enable its ability to navigate or scroll as needed. Neither issue resolved quickly.

You’ve likely gathered from my whining that the impact on my morning was unwelcomed. Of course, in the scheme of things, they’re both ridiculously minor issues, so it’s perhaps strange to use them in an opening paragraph. But there they are, so let me explain.

As I continued to struggle with my mouse and the software-bugs that precluded the resolution of customer issues, I decided to reboot my head with a long walk before returning to write. It’s good I did.

The problem with change, I realized, is there are different types lumped together under one word. There’s the traumatic “life happens” change that can transform well being, livelihood, or relationships with unexpected and abrupt immediacy. There’s the common kind that arrives slowly, steadily, or predictably with foreseeable and expected outcomes, like the changing seasons. And there are numerous kinds in between.

There is the change we initiate and control ourselves for ourselves, and the kind that is thrust upon us by someone or something we can’t affect; the kind that offers a reprieve from the same-old, same-old, and the kind that turns plans and schedules inside out. There is change that brings growth and insight, and change that brings stress and adversity.

We even attribute negative or transformational powers to the word itself. It can evoke a sense that something is going to be different, unwanted, uncomfortable — or desired, sought after, wonderful. After all, people seek change to grow and evolve; they also seek to avoid it and stay the path. Change can be embraced, conquered, resisted or navigated through.

While that’s true, those small, annoying occurrences did change my mood and orientation that day. They altered my plans and sense of control, bringing whining and poor-is-me victimhood to my thoughts. I blamed them as the change-agents that impacted my plans.

But in the scheme of things, I was wrong. What I realized on that walk was those occurrences were random “stuff” that happened. I was the change-agent that changed my morning. They didn’t bring the change, my thinking did. In the words of Wayne Dyer “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” We have the same opportunity to do that with far more than our annoying occurrences. We can also change how we look at the world, each other, and our lives.

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