“Live to win, dare to fail; Eat the dirt and bite the nail; So wash your face away with dirt; It don’t feel good until it hurts; So take this world and shake it; Come squeeze and suck the day; Come carpe diem baby” – Metallica
Some people see change as bad, but others see it as an opportunity. I worked with the final year students at my local primary school last June, giving them acting coaching. They were doing their leaving play (written by one of the teachers), about to move up to high school – for most of us this is the first memory of change that we have. Do you remember that feeling? I know I do, and it was very scary!!! These 10/11 year olds put on an amazing play to help them understand the changes they were about to make, and realise that they were not all bad. It worked, looking at a lot of change through history it showed that it was not all bad.
There is no doubting that some change can be bad, damaging even – we only need to look at Germany’s election of Adolf Hitler to see an example of this. On the flip side this was an isolated incident in one country. The majority of change though is good – the invention of the wheel, electricity, combustion engines – all of which made our lives better.
Take change that we can control – if we are happy with our lives then why change anything? The old adage: “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it!” says it all. But are any of us TRULY happy with our lives all of the time? “Oh if I could just win the lottery”; “I hate my job”; “I want to live in Spain”. There is always something we want in order to enhance our lives still further – in short there is always something we want to change about our lives.
Some people make these changes and take the opportunity – seizing the day – others want to but it seems too big a step. What is it that some people have, but others don’t? “Carpe Diem” – namely the guts to seize the day and the opportunity, or to take the bull by the horns. Then they ride that bull until they either fall off or the bull allows it! If they fall off, then they find another bull to ride.
Looking at the statements above:
1. Winning the lottery – no change is necessary to win it, but boy how it would change your life if you did! Could you handle that change? Chances are it would make you miserable – you would have everything you ever wanted, be able to afford anything else that you decided you wanted. Is this the key to happiness? Plenty of stories in the press have shown that this kind of change spoils everything, even the winner.
2. Changing your job – stressful, but satisfying potentially. This could bring about a change in life style, but could also change the amount of time you spend with your family. You have to weigh up the pros and cons – this is a considered controlled change, unlike winning the lottery. Changing jobs in the same profession is not so difficult or marked, but a complete change in professions would not only be very stressful, but could change your life for the better. Imagine the manager who decides he’s had enough of his job and swaps roles with his wife becoming a house husband. That is a massive change. Most men will not even consider this – the idea of the enormity of the change and the damage to their masculine pride makes them immediately dismiss it, but many couples have done this successfully. My wife is a lot younger than I and not yet had a career and we are considering this, if she can find employment making a similar wage to me. I have spent my career convincing others that change is a good thing – resisting the resistance – I actually believe that change is a very good thing, as it gives you a different outlook on things.
3. Moving to another country – This is the biggest change. We have all seen the families on “Relocation relocation relocation” on TV, who decide to sell up and move to a different part of the country or world – some going to Australia. Moving is supposedly one of the most stressful things we do in life, but we all do it at least once in our lives. We’ve all wished that we had the guts to do that – move to sunnier climes or more peaceful surroundings. Why do it? Simply, its to give your family a better life. Thats why we all move house at some point – be it for better schools, a better job, or a better life style. Its just that some people decide to do it BIG!!
Change can be anything, small or large – to a young child something we consider small, can be massive. I will never forget, when we changed the colour of our toilet paper, our 3 year old (just potty trained) was horrified and had so many questions about why it was a different colour. Imagine how a massive change such as divorce affects them! For us adults, its the bigger changes that scare us and that we therefore shy away from.
That is the difference – some shy away from change whilst others embrace it. It is confidence that makes the difference – confidence in your life choices and your decision making abilities, confidence in your ability to seize opportunity successfully. Sometimes you just have to take the chance because it may just work out for you and not be there again in the future – timing is everything. All you need is the ability to say yes and ride the wave of life. Riding that wave involves risks, such as falling into the sea and when that happens its sink or swim time.
So, learn to swim in the sea of life by making small changes wearing water wings. Give yourself confidence in your life choices and decisions. Once that confidence begins to build, you can make bigger changes, take bigger risks, eventually taking those water wings off and swimming – tentatively at first. Then you will have the confidence that you can ride the wave and if you do fall off, you can swim and keep going – giving YOU the opportunity to make big changes, right decisions, and seize those opportunities.
As John Bird says in his self help book “How To Change Your Life In 7 Steps” – “Start small and aim BIG” So go on – learn to swim, and then seize the day and ride the wave of life, because with renewed confidence you REALLY CAN do it!!