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Change: A Powerful Force for Personal Growth

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It struck me today that one of the only things that we can count on in life is change. Although an oxymoron of giant proportions, change is a constant. In other words, the universe is always rearranging and readjusting. The more adaptive people are those who are able to embrace change. The more that we can deal with and understand change, the better equipped we are to learn and grow. This applies to one's personal life and interpersonal relationships, their parenting style, and the way in which they handle ups and downs in business. Life is always evolving, so we need to teach our children to "ride the waves of life." The longer you live, the more you notice that everything in life is a phase. Whether it be a good phase or a bad phase, count on the fact that it will be short-lived.

Why Is It So Important to Change? I Like Things As They Are!

Change is important to personal growth and development. It appears to me that women have an easier time with the "reinvention" aspect than men. Women are continually assessing and reassessing themselves, whereas men tend to be linear and usually move forward rather than sideways. Women change their hair color, style or clothes more frequently than men. While it is certainly not scientific, I believe that all types of change are good. One of my friends likened change to a muscle that when unused simply atrophies. Frequent, small changes will enable you to change your behavior at any time with greater ease, just as working muscles makes you more limber and nimble.

Relationships and Change

Some couples gravitate to a repetitive and comfortable relationship and "settle" in without any regard to the outside forces that may affect the relationship. Over time, couples go through ups and downs in life as I mentioned earlier. It may be personal, work-related, chemical, age- or disease-related, but you may not be exactly on the same wave; your waves will certainly crest at a different point from your spouse's waves. That is the change that is constant. One will be up while the other may be down. That is the test on the strength of the relationship. The functional couples will automatically "back and fill" for each other, while others will "blame" and "criticize" the spouse who is down. Remember that life has an expiration date; we just don't know when. Don't let each day be a countdown to the end. Instead, bring some refreshing change to your relationship. Try to make small but meaningful changes such as remembering on a regular basis to tell loved ones how important they are in your life.

Business and Change

Some people used the expression, "Business as usual." Today, even repeating it sounds antiquated and reminiscent of a time when businesses could count on a stable and favorable economic climate. Business as usual is dead. Today, there is the "financial crisis of the week." Big brokerage houses busting, banks imploding, the residential real estate market collapsing all point to a rocky road in dealing with economic uncertainty. To some, this indicates a clear path to hunkering down and staying low to the ground. Others want to "carpe diem" and try to capitalize on a dip while recognizing that even this severe downturn will simply be a phase. Those who can execute smart well thought-out ideas that are advantageous today will certainly be rewarded tomorrow.

Parenting and Change

Earlier, I mentioned the atrophied muscles. Just as we teach our kids how to build their minds and bodies, we must acclimate them to change. Typically, parents try to always keep the same routine for children, which is an important backbone to child development and organizational skills. The point here is that many parents become so "routinized" that any disruption to the highly scheduled life of a typical suburban child, any change, is a calamity! Today's child is pinned tightly to an unyielding schedule of extra-curriculars like dance, sports, music, art, tutoring, etc. It reminds me of a closely lined up set of dominos; you know it's going to fall, but where and when? These are the skills which should be taught by parents (e.g., how to mitigate when things go awry.) These are life-skills, along with reading, writing and arithmetic.

Please understand that I am not advocating for flitting from thing to thing on a whim but rather recognizing the points at which you can exercise the ability to step out from the crowd and change your life by beginning a new job, creating your own business, starting a hobby, learning Italian or ballroom dancing. Upgrade your computer skills or watch a TED talk. Anything to help you from becoming atrophied!

As the original "Trouble Man," who was shot and killed by his father, used to sing, "There's only three things that's fo' sho': taxes, death and trouble." Of course, Marvin Gaye and I are fellow Motowners, and we also share a birthday, April 2.

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