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The Balance of 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.  

The Balance of Change

Scott Miker

Change is something that everyone experiences.  Change is there before every major event in our lives.  Change is there during some of the most difficult times of our lives.  Change is also there throughout moments of our lives that don’t have major significance.

But how people react to change is always different.  Some charge right for it in order to maintain the image of control.  Some avoid it as much as possible because of its natural uncertainty.

But self-improvement relies on change and one must be comfortable with change in order to truly improve.  But we all need to understand the balance of change in order to consistently make good choices around change.

On one extreme is the change for the sake of change.  This is the level that adjusts with the wind and will also follow change over consistency.

The other extreme is the overly patient.  Patience is good and should be cherished but with too much patience we can become too reactive to life and not in control of our destiny. 

There is a quote by Jack Welch that says, “Control your destiny or someone else will.”  This is the typical advice I give myself when I can tell I’m leaning too much on patience.  We can’t expect others to reach our goals for us.  We have to take control. 

The truth is that each of will float between these two extremes like a pendulum.  Sometimes we are too willing to change and sometimes too resistant to change. 

When I look back over my life I can see these movements very clearly.  Times of great willingness to change tended to be followed by times of resistance to change.  Times of taking charge and dictating my path forward were followed by a wait and see approach. 

But sometimes we need to change.  Sometimes we have waited and gathered enough information to change.  Even if we haven’t gotten all of the information we think we need we probably have enough. 

One thing that has helped me is to give more weight to probabilities.  I like to create various future outcomes based on a decision to make a change.  Then I can give weight to each by determining the chance that it will happen. 

This often helps me get clarity.  There may be a small chance of something great that we are reaching for.  But if the likelihood is very small we can’t let that determine our action. 

One of the things that I like about using a systematic approach to improve is that it takes into account the various aspects of change.  Instead of forcing ourselves to make extreme changes we can make small incremental changes in order to reach our goals. 

But what I have found was that this translates into other areas of change for me.  Instead of overvaluing an unlikely but positive situation or avoiding an unlikely but negative situation I can realize the probability of these happening and factor that in. 

So find effective ways to balance change to make sure that you are improving.  Being too patient or too aggressive can lead to negative consequences and finding the right balance is ideal to be able to achieve our goals.