“The only constant thing is change” ~ Heraclitus
I like change. It revitalizes and motivates me, it offers me a fresh outlook on life and it forces me to expand my comfort zone. Change stimulates the growth of the brain, because it creates new connections between the neurons. This happens every time you learn or do something new. To put it simple – change makes you smarter and the more changes you adopt, the smarter you become on the long run.
Boredom is the brain killer. Change makes your brain secrete a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is responsible for the facilitation of new synaptic bonds and your feeling very excited about what is about to come. Dopamine is the antidote for boredom. It makes you want to get up and go, it activates your senses and brings your attention back to where you are. It keeps you curious and interested. It kind of plugs you in to what is happening or about to happen.
Boredom has the exact opposite effect and in time makes your brain more rigid. New researches in science show the fact that the brain can produce neurons all the time, provided the fact that it gets the required stimulation. And that stimulation is dopamine, translated in change or the anticipation of change.
The fear of change
Change is the source of growth and development, change is the basis for evolution. And despite that fact, there are still lots of people who fear change more than they do boredom and stagnation. They prefer to hide under the supposed shelter of security and comfort instead of really living stimulating and interesting lives. Why does that happen?
Change is often linked to risk. If you do something completely new, something you have never done before, you are unable to predict the outcome of that situation. Since you are missing the previous experience, you can only predict the results of change, based on what you can figure out in that moment. But what if the results you imagine are different to the ones which will actually occur? What if things turn out bad and instead of getting what you desire you will end up in a much worse situation all together?
This type of reasoning fuels the fear of change. While some people are more willing to take risks and others prefer calculating everything and limiting unpredictability or remaining in the comfort zone as much as possible, the need for change is still strongly embedded in our brains.
Our ability to change has helped us evolve throughout millions of years. Human beings are the only specie on earth that has managed to populate it with 7 billion of its kind. How do you think this was possible? Well, the rules were actually quite simple: either people adapted or they died. This is what happened to all those species before us. They died, because they failed to change as fast as the environment did. They remained the same and were unable to cope with the circumstances. So they went extinct.
The need for change
You are life. Life grows, life moves, life evolves, life changes. Just look around you at the plants, the trees, even the weather. Nature lives in cycles. Nature expands and contracts and makes each day different.
What about you? Do you live the same way every day? Do you experience a routine, repeating the same things over and over again? Are you able to remember what you did last Tuesday? What about a month ago? Three months ago? Six months ago? One year ago? If I were to choose a specific date in the calendar and ask you how you spent that day, would you be able to answer anything else besides waking up, going to work and coming home (also depending on your usual daily routine)? Or do all of your workdays look alike and all of your weekends as well?
If you have the impression that time simply flies by you and you wake up realizing that another month has past, and you ask yourself when that happened, it was like yesterday was June and now we are already in September, than it’s a good indicator of the fact that you have stopped growing. If your hours seem like they never end, because you wait for the evening to come (“just 3 more hours of work”) or something to happen (“just 2 more days until weekend”) but on the contrary, time generally appear to fly by very fast (“when did October come?”), then you are stagnating.
A change would do you good
You are a living being. Growth is in your nature, along with movement and change. Stagnation means death. So take on this challenge and implement the habit of change. Push yourself every time and seek to adapt constantly.
Start small and keep things simple. You don’t need big shifts, it is sufficient to do something new at least every week. Go visit a new place, try a new food, do a different activity, learn a foreign language, learn a new sport, play a musical instrument, brush your teeth with the other hand (this one is quite a challenge in the beginning ), sleep on the other side of the bed, listen to new music, meet new people, play, take classes in something you like. The idea is to change, to learn, to push yourself, to find something that brings excitement into your life, to step outside of your comfort zone.
Please also take into consideration the fact that change is inevitable. If you refuse to change and choose to stagnate, the world around you will eventually change and at a certain point it will push you to do the same. The only thing is that if this happens, it will usually be a far more dramatic and intense change, which may be more difficult to cope with.
Small changes are stimulating, but a big change may be traumatizing if you are unprepared for it. This is why it is actually much safer if you are the one who initiates the changes. That way you will have time to prepare for them and you will be able to tackle things at your own pace. If you wait for the universe to incur a change into your life, you may find that it gives you a bigger push than you are prepared to handle at that time.
So change is on the long run actually much safer than the apparent comfort of stagnation. Smart people are always one step ahead of the world. They take control over the changes in their lives and thus direct their own growth. Dare to do the same. Implement a small change every week and watch your life improve and your brain remain young. The best way to remember that you have control over your life is to make a change and feel the freedom associated with that choice.
In the end I will leave you with a song from Cheryl Cole called “A change would do you good”. I hope it inspires you to keep changing for the better.
Cheryl Cole – A Change Would do You Good