Most of us are scared of having new beginnings in our lives. Sometimes we will do whatever we can to hang on to what we know. Whether that’s sabotaging our promotion, ruining a relationship, or abusing our health, we are all attracted to a certain level of comfort and familiarity. Most don’t truly relish change, even if it is change for the better.
I think the problem with change is that we get stuck focusing on what we are giving up, what we have grown accustomed to. This phenomenon is very evident in my golf instruction, as many students are reluctant to make actual changes in their golf swing. It’s not that they don’t want to improve and hit the ball better, it’s that they don’t want to feel awkward and inept, or lose the swing they already have.
To make true change entails an uncomfortable and unfamiliar transition period over time, as well as a trust that you will be fine wherever the change takes you. When we move on we don’t lose what we have, it will always be a part of us, but it no longer serves our growing interests and situation. Change means being uncomfortable and not being able to dictate or know where it will take us. We need to stop trying to control change in our lives and let it take us where it will. When we feel we need to be a certain way, do certain things, or have things be a specific way, we limit our inner growth and willingness to embark in new directions.
When we are changing our approach and starting to see things differently, it doesn’t mean we are going to like the differences right away, or that it is going to be wonderful and glorious. True change comes subtly and unnoticed, because it is a work in progress day to day, a battle within ourselves. Charles Darwin stated that it is ‘survival of the fittest’, but I believe it is ‘survival of the best adapted’. Sometimes one may have too much ambition, talent, and success for their own good, i.e. Michael Jackson, without being able or willing to roll with life. Or one may have too much courage, determination, and threshold for pain, i.e. Junior Seau, without having an ability or willingness to adapt to changing circumstances.
It is easy to get locked into perceptions about ourselves, letting them define us, and clinging onto them for dear life. Had Junior reached out and let others know what he was going through, rather than continually needing to be the indestructible tough guy who saves the day, perhaps he could have found a way to deal with the physical and mental pain that led to his suicide. Sometimes we have to work our whole lives to deal with or throw off false perceptions we have created about ourselves. They may have been beneficial perceptions at a certain time in our lives, but they have not kept up with the times and needs of our changing situation. To change is to give up old perceptions and to move on, knowing that it is okay because we still have ourselves. We are not giving up our being, we are just giving up some external reality, a false internal belief, or some limited narrow thinking that no longer serves us well – realize that!
Take these new beginnings into your fitness, golf, and mental health. Whether trying to improve your golf game, quit smoking, improve upon self-esteem, or get more physically fit, know that you are moving on from where you are, because you don’t want to be stuck being the same person today as you were 5 years ago. Let go of identification with the past and move forward. Let’s let these tragic deaths of Michael and Junior teach us about our own reluctance to change, and let’s learn to flow with the true nature of life.
When you come to the realization that not changing will bring you more pain in the long run, you are truly maturing and coming to some understanding of the real essence of life and yourself in it. Don’t let others, or false perceptions of yourself, limit you and keep you trapped where you are, for life is a string of adjustments until the end. Be ready for endlessly thrown curve balls, to be perpetually knocked off balance, and know that you can continually adjust and re-find your center point over and over again.