If one understands that change is the only constant in life then one will more easily recognise what Heraclitus is saying in his ‘obscure’ writings when he claims such things as, “The way up and the way down are one and the same. Living and dead, waking and sleeping, young and old, are the same.”
I quote Heraclitus, the pre-Socractic Greek philosopher, who said that “Change is the only constant in life” to highlight the need for all of us to always plan for and be ready for change in every aspect of our lives.
I think about this as my husband and I recently relocated to the UK for work, and I reflect on the smooth transition this was as everything fell into place because we embraced the change and welcomed it, that it came to us as simple and as normal. People are so afraid and so resistant to inevitable changes in their lives and yet if we go with it and are adaptable and flexile enough we would see even more blessing good and ease come with it. The interesting thing is that I have heard an old man say once that whilst many people know how to live for today and a few plan for tomorrow, most people can never contemplate the fact that there will be a day after tomorrow.
Many people, therefore, live their lives guided by a series of short-term plans and goals but without wishing to contemplate the sustainability of their plans over long-term. Change is fused with time and time stops for no man but many people set themselves up to be long term failures by failing to start in the way that they intend to finish. Life is a journey and series of changes and adapting over time.
So the short term postures that people assume make change a scary prospect for many. Some people fear change because it may mean that they lose their livelihood. Some people fear change because they believe that it may come with a loss of status. Other people fear change because they think that it will come with disruption.
But no one sees the possibility and positives in change and that with change comes only learning and greatness, even in business today, the leaders who are able to thrive are the ones that are able to deal with the constant change and chaos of the ever-changing business landscape.
But our fears, whether rational or not, cannot stop the hands of time and as time marches forward it drags change along with it. So we have to face the fact that change is coming. We must also cease to fear change. Change is only traumatic if we try to resist it. Here are a few steps to navigate the inevitable change without fear?
Step 1 – Do not tie your whole being to things that are bound to change
One must find a way of ensuring that whatever position you take on any issue does not come to define who you are. Do not hang your hat on one thing. Allow for growth, and evolution of oneself. Maintain a healthy multifaceted identity and do not become one-dimensional. Diamonds are cut to be multifaceted as this increases their ability to reflect light. Every experience adds to our being and is malleable as it impacts who we are and who we become. Allow the freedom and be open.
Step 2 – But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed
If you do not want it proclaimed from the rooftops, do not whisper it to a man who may be secretly recording your conversation and not taking good care of the tapes – in essence, don’t tell all of your dreams, desires and plans, because not everyone is always happy for you. Let the journey take its course and things will be revealed when the time is right. Remember, the Devil was once an Angel.
Step 3 – Avoid extremes
Always be moderate in your views and what you voice, life is ever changing and it is through what you put out in the ether and that of which you speak of that comes to life. When you change and drive change, and when it comes to fruition allow for the possibility that tomorrow you are left back at where you started. Do not change to a point where you are unable to deal with the former situation. Be able to move easily between situations and deal with what life throws your way.
Step 4 – Take the opportunity and position yourself
Don’t wait for tomorrow, make that change now and live it, “be the change that you want to see in the world”, as Mahatma Ghandi once said. Get up, get out and do something. It is only through doing that we will get things done and effect change. We all watch form the sides line as life happens, but in the game of life there are two participants, spectators and players, pick one.
One of my good friends, Aamina Asmal, shared this beautiful quote with me by C.S.Lewis, ‘There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind’ , which is so true, with change comes growth, new beginnings, new learnings, a new you and most importantly a new narrative to your life’s journey.