How to Get Good at Change

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

More Findings from Stuhlberg’s Research on How to Get Good at Change

“Will you let change destabilize you or will you use change as the energetic means to growth, fundamentally shifting how you relate to yourself, your environment and those around you?”

  • Brad Stuhlberg

When change disrupts your life, keep these points in mind:
  • The more realistic our expectations, the happier we are. There’s a reason the Scandinavian countries are said to be the happiest in the world: they were found to have expectations that are much more in alignment with reality as opposed to our country which “almost over-indexes for expecting the best.” (This makes me wonder if there is a connection between a culture that leans toward expecting the best and culture of entitlement. Entitlement and expectation would seem to have major overlap.)
  • The best expectations are the ones we can quickly update based on reality. Not better than reality, not worse than reality: reality like it is.
  • Being calm and happy in any given moment is the result of our reality minus our expectations. When our expectations are better than our reality, we don’t feel well. Not fun when our expectations exceed out reality.
  • The more we spend our energy re-ordering our lives in a new way after a disordering event, the more likely we will be able to thrive.
  • Responding successfully to change requires cultivating ruggedness and flexibility and knowing when to be one or the other.
  • Our values, like the banks of a river, are what give shape to our lives. Our values are rugged and will hold us up. They are our solid ground. They will guide us. How we apply our values is where flexibility comes in.

    Case in point: the New York Times, one of the few newspapers to flourish in the digital disruption of how people get their news. Guided by their core values of good journalism, expertise, and thoughtful analysis, the NYT became a multi-media company, delivering news online and in print, in short and long-form and also expanded into podcasts, crossword puzzles, cooking apps and more. They were rugged in their values; flexible in the creative form it took.
  • Shift from “having mode” to “being mode.” In Having Mode, we define ourselves based on our possessions, income, jobs, people, skills, and abilities. All these things can be taken away. This is a fragile identity. Being Mode is based on the essential qualities of who we are which is anti-fragile.
  • Don’t wait to feel good to start doing something good. Do something good to give yourself the chance to feel good.

    For instance:

    - Don’t wait to feel like exercising to move your body. Take a walk to have a chance of feeling good and feeling like moving your body.

    - Don’t wait to feel like engaging with people. Say hi to someone to start feeling like coming out of hiding.

    - Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Start writing/planning/making/creating/moving/doing/going so you have a chance of feeling like following through
  • Etymology of homeostasis. From the Latin root, “homo” which means same and “stasis” which means standing. In other words, we achieve stability by trying to stay the same.
  • Etymology of allostasis. From the Latin root, “allo” which means change or variable and “stasis” still means standing. In other words, we achieve stability through entering the river of change and finding our new footing.

  • Use the 4 P’s to successfully respond to change

    1. Pause –     Take some deep breaths. Or if a really big change, a few months.

    2. Process –  Really understand what’s happening. Don’t deny or resist. Don’t engage in magical

    3. Plan –        Assert your agency and consider the resources you are equipped with and what
                          you can bring to bear on the situation.

    4. Proceed – Only after attending to the first 3 P’s.

 A Few Random Freebies Just Because

“When we start healing our inner world, we start healing the whole world.”

  • The Good Life Project
“A man has two ways out in life: laughing or crying. There’s more hope in laughing.”
  • Dick Gregory, comedian, civil rights leader