Posts tagged: Change

Why are we afraid of change? How change affects our social lives

| September 12, 2016
change relationships

This is part four in our series exploring the science of our discomfort with change.

In the first post of this series, when we explored how human beings handle uncertainty, I mentioned a dream job across the country that you might, or might not, apply for. I mentioned how scary it can be to consider all the unknown outcomes of such a decision, such as where you’d live or whether the job would live up to expectations. But there’s another facet to such decisions: the impact of such a major life change on your relationships. Taking a job across the country could mean leaving family, friends, and a romantic partner behind and having to start over among strangers.

When I interviewed experts in a range of fields about how human beings make decisions, break habits, and handle things like loss and uncertainty, several of them cautioned against thinking solely in terms read more

Why are we afraid of change? Examining the allure of habit

| August 29, 2016

This is part three in our series exploring our fear of change.

“Lizards don’t learn very much,” writes neuroscientist Marc Lewis in his book, “The Biology of Desire.” “Their repertoire of skills is innate.”

By contrast, mammals have brains that “are designed for learning — they are designed to change — in sync with their environments.” We humans have evolved to adapt to cold weather, to fashion new tools, to adventure to new lands.

So why is change so hard for us, when we are, apparently, so used to it? read more

Why are we afraid of change? How fear of loss holds us back

| August 22, 2016

This is part two in our series exploring our fear of change.

Why is it so hard to give up what we have in exchange for something that seems better? It turns out, there’s a lot of research into how people make decisions in the economic arena that can help us understand why it can be difficult to change course, even when we say we want read more

Why are we afraid of change? The science of uncertainty

| August 15, 2016
Fear of change

So many of us struggle to change careers, to leave a bad relationship, to go back to school. In my social circle, I can think of just two friends who are notably good at change; the rest (myself included) tend to freeze up when we consider breaking with the past in a significant way. Neuroscientist Dean Burnett’s new book, “Idiot Brain,” addresses the ways our brains trip us up. I asked him why humans might be wired to resist making changes even when we say we want them.

“In an evolutionary sense, the brain doesn’t like uncertainty. Anything uncertain is potentially a threat,” Burnett read more

How I changed careers (and found work that is truer to my nature)

| July 11, 2016
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Rachel Cohen is a licensed New York social worker, freelance writer, and Fordham grad. She currently works at the Association of Community Employment (ACE), assisting the homeless population in finding full-time jobs. She loves writing about social work, self-care, mental health, and vocational development.

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For the last three years that I worked as a digital editorial director, I loathed not only my job, but also my career. “Loathed” is a pretty strong word, but it’s accurate. I felt dread at the first hint of my alarm clock every day. What’s worse, I felt despair every night, thinking that I was powerless and that this feeling would never end.

Depressed, I tried to eat away my problems — my typical solution — which led to major weight gain. I was sick and lethargic, often from the stress.

I didn’t have the nerve to quit, and instead I fantasized about getting read more

5 strategies to help you make a change in your life

| June 22, 2016
ambiguity

We’ve been helping people get unstuck for almost five years now (actually, make that 22 years, which is how long our parent company, SYPartners, has been helping business leaders get unstuck). Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to move someone from thinking about change to making one.

Later this summer, we’re debuting an online course designed to arm you with a personalized blueprint for change. For now, we have five pieces of core advice that can help you find the courage, motivation, momentum, support, and perspective to leap into the read more

7 simple ways to take a risk

| September 8, 2015

Here’s what we love about risk: It breaks boundaries and broadens our world. It delivers a kind of exhilaration that following the rules never will. It helps us determine our own destiny.

We don’t suggest daredevil antics, but we do endorse trying something new on a regular read more

Does sticking to the rules get you stuck?

| May 8, 2015
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Stuck moment: I’ve lived in this building for eight years, and I like the place just the way it is. But now this idiot — who moved in, what, last week? — is campaigning to have the lobby redone. No, thank you. Everything is perfectly fine as it is. Why can’t people leave well enough alone?

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We all like a sure thing. Sure things mean safety and comfort and confidence and success. But sometimes, when we hang on too tightly, we get stuck in a sneaky way.

It usually happens when someone challenges — intentionally or otherwise — the way we believe things should be. It hits us in the gut. Puts us off-kilter. Maybe even threatens our security. A chorus of “No! That’s wrong. That’s not how it’s supposed to be,” rings in our head. In our heart we wonder, “I’m following the rules, so why aren’t read more

How to deal with change you didn’t ask for

| October 9, 2014
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Stuck moment: Wait, you changed the process? But I’ve never done it that way before, and I can’t guarantee that I’ll be much good at it. Yeah, I’m not really warming up to this idea. You all have fun with that — I’ll just stick to what I know.

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Sure, there are thrill-seekers who feel most alive when they’ve got one foot dangling off the edge of the known universe. And then there’s the rest of us. Reluctant Adapters. Creatures of comfort who quite enjoy the feeling of steady ground beneath our feet.

When change is afoot, it’s the ambiguity that gets us stuck. How will the change affect me? Am I losing something as a result? I don’t understand how this will work. Consequently, our reactions don’t mirror our best selves. We cling to what we know, avoid what’s coming, and generally start hating what we wish weren’t inevitable.

There’s read more

Question: What’s your safety zone?

| July 10, 2014

Comfort zones are critical. They let us replenish energy levels, shore up confidence, and relax. Without them, we’d probably operate in a state of manic stress or utter exhaustion. And that’s not good for anyone. But neither is shrink-wrapping yourself in safety.

Try something different every now and then to expand your world. It helps to start small (take a new route to work; attend a half-day conference) and feel your enthusiasm for the unfamiliar build.

One of our favorite stories about pushing limits is the extreme case of James Bradley, who was told after his surgery that sport activities were no longer in his future. That was not a safety zone he would stay read more