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Why improvement means more than adapting to change

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Why improvement means more than adapting to change

Scott Miker

People are not open to change.  As humans, we evolved and survived, in part, because we understood what worked, and we stuck with it.  But there were always those who seemed to defy that logic and would set out to explore new lands and take new chances.

In today’s world you may think that change is constant.  There are numerous quotes that express that view and convince us that we have to constantly be willing to change in order to improve. 

But I have found that while change is always around, some people should work to avoid change and some should embrace it.  I think about myself when I was in college.  I understood that things changed often so I didn’t fully immerse myself in anything.  I would go from change to change but I wasn’t improving.

Change shouldn’t be something that is an easy decision.  Yes we should embrace change but we shouldn’t do so by sacrificing progress.  For me the key is to find systematic changes that help drive me towards my goal and then work to maintain that change. 

In fact, I work like hell to make sure that the new routine doesn’t change too quickly.  If we constantly move from attempt to attempt we miss the most important aspect of self-improvement.  We miss the progress.  We don’t give ourselves enough time and consistency to develop the routines and habits that will take us towards success.

To me this is a delicate and subtle balance.  We want to be open to change and take advantage of opportunities but we don’t want to become flakey and never stick with anything.  We want to reduce the fear associated with change but we also want to avoid making poor decisions because we fear hard work. 

Addressing this is going to be different for everyone.  If you understand yourself and your tendencies you can start to see that you may be a little too far on either extreme.  You may avoid change like the plague or you may have to change every couple of years in order to feel alive. 

Once you get comfortable with your own sensitivities towards change, you will start to see both ends of the spectrum and realize that the key is improvement.  Is the change a change to simply do something different or is the change necessary for improvement?  Are you bored and looking for a change in your life or are you adapting to changes that you don’t have any control over?

The reality is that we all know people who change as the wind blows.  One day they are going to school for art and the next they are traveling across Europe.

We also know those who seem stuck in their ways of doing things and never seem open to any type of change.  They have been doing this for years and are completely unwilling to do something else.

Both ends of the spectrum miss the key to change, which is improvement.  Instead work to find ways to grow and improve through change or through consistently.  Don’t assume change is always good or consistency is always good and instead realize that this is really just a paradox and navigating change is much more complex than reading a famous quote about change.  But through it all make sure your focus is on progress and improvement.