Grace Under Fire: Handling Life Changes

by Alina on September 28, 2016

in Career Change, Decision-making, Happiness, Need a Change

I’ve always loved fall. It is colorful, fresh, unpredictable, and usually brings about all sorts of new promising beginnings. foliage

This September came as a mixed bag, though. It has delivered new work projects and soulful celebrations with friends. It has also brought a cosmic reboot (read: “a series of small, but epic failures”).

My phone contact list was wiped-out, along with two of its recent backups (which Apple engineers dubbed “a nearly-impossible system glitch that happens once in a blue moon”).

I lost a close friend who I thought would be in my life forever.

Each of my family members had a complete schedule revamp, and we’re still adjusting to the shift.

A vigorous family travel schedule for the fall looks exciting, but heavy…

Most of these things are natural, and not out of the ordinary. And yet, in combination, they have been overwhelming.

Of course, I decided to write a blog post about finding new balance after life changes, and quickly realized I’ve been churning out posts about change rather frequently: what to do when things change,  how to feel good about change when you don’t have much control over the situation, what happens when you’ve changed , and about the fact that I’ve changed

I re-read them, and it was a necessary refresher. If you’re having trouble finding your balance after your life unexpectedly changes, just as you thought you have everything figured out, please, read those posts, too. You’ll find them comforting and useful.

I’d like to add three more relevant ideas for dealing with change, which I found during my latest round of research on change.

  1. On failure, from Marina Abramovic, as featured in the film “InnSaei”. Don’t only do what you already like and what you’re already good at. Try what you don’t like, and do what you don’t know yet how to do. You may fail, but you may also end up in a magical place you haven’t suspected exists. “I think failure is a very important part of success. If you don’t fail, it means you’re not risking anything, or you’re repeating yourself. And that means you’ll lose the curiosity and the life force inside of you.”
  2. On flexibility in learning, from Kevin Kelly, a futurist, a pioneer of internet culture, and founder of Wired magazine, featured in Freakonomics podcast. When discussing his book, “The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think”, he suggested that people who are unwilling to re-educate themselves in order to adjust to the rapidly changing world around them will lose out. This insight is relevant to any life change: re-educate yourself. What do you need to know, and how do you need to grow in order to deal with the newly changed situation?
  3. On adjusting to change, from Dr. Elke Weber, featured in a TEDxEast talk. Our fear of losing what we have is twice as strong as our desire to gain something. So, naturally, it is difficult to let go and free up our hands for embracing something new. Dr. Weber’s advice to counteract the resistance is to first consider the positive possible outcomes when making a change, as there’s a “first query advantage” in generating arguments. The first query will have a greater influence on you in your decision-making. (For example, first ask “What would be great about changing jobs?”, and only then, “What am I losing by changing jobs?”) And if there’s only one advice you could take from this TED talk, it’s this: Accept change.

Accept change.

Re-educate yourself, given the new circumstances.

Expect and welcome failure.

You are Here. Reset. Start again.

As you’re reading this, I’m exploring Paris with our oldest son (unless new unexpected changes put us elsewhere), hoping to make a transition during this trip from the whirlwind of September into the calm confidence of October. Let’s stay in touch through all the life’s changes! If you’ve given me your phone number in the past 3 years, I would be super thankful if you could, please, reply, and share your phone number with me again!

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