We all change to some degree, that there is no denying. The degree to which we do change, however, is something that can be incredibly interesting.
To some, change is a bad thing. Something negative, something to be feared and avoided. To others, change is the only thing, growing and evolving as a person, learning and developing new skills and habits. It all comes back to Carol Dweck’s fixed and growth mindsets and how our outlook on development differs.
I have a very strong view on growth and learning that if we are not growing, we are dying. If something seems to be plateauing, in reality it is declining. This is true of business, of skills, of our positive characteristics. If we don’t continually develop or practice them they will diminish. Even with something we never forget, like riding a bike, if not practiced for a while, our skills will not be as strong as they once were.
This is why I find athletes so fascinating, they have a very objective way to measure their growth, plateau and decline. In just about every other aspect of life, we don’t have that. We try to manufacture some measure to use such as income, net worth, streams, purchases, but these miss a huge part of the story. Growth is less about outcomes and more to do with internal change.
People can view us from the outside and can notice changes in us. The way we carry ourselves may differ or even our speech patterns can change but often this can be misjudged. A change in how we act can be viewed as trying to distance ourselves from our past rather than growing towards a better future. Fixed mindsets tend to struggle more with the distinction.
The people we spend time with changes as we grow too. We’ve all had a moment where we run into someone we were once close with and we struggle to connect. Both parties have changed, grown in separate directions and now share less in common than they once did. Our shared experiences from long ago may still bond us but our challenge to ourselves to grow as a human being means that we are fundamentally a different person. This is a scary notion, we like to feel like we have a character, a personality that is “me” and taking steps to change that can seem like a threat to who we are.
I embrace change. I know I have changed a lot from 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even 1 year ago. I enjoy the process of change, the commitment to growing and learning and despite all the changes to my character still consider myself “me”. A lot of people I spent time around will remember me as being a certain way and we likely wouldn’t have as much in common now as we did then and that is okay. Change isn’t for everyone but if it is something you seek, you should learn to get as comfortable with it as possible.
Here is a video by The School of Life that I think demonstrates some of what I have said a lot better:
We all change and learning to embrace the change in ourselves and others would benefit us all.