We always hear things like “times are changing” or “change is the only constant thing in this world” or – especially with the recently-concluded National Elections – “change is coming.” In this day and age, change even comes in different forms with different names: innovation, integration, downsizing, modernization, strategic shift, restructuring, re-engineering, rethinking…
Call it what you want, but one thing is certain: change is part of our lives. You can deny it, you can fight it, you can resist it, but it will always come. The people and organizations that succeed are those that EMBRACE change, and RESPOND to these changes in a positive way.
I have always considered myself a go-with-the-flow type of person. I do set goals and make plans, but part of the plan is to always leave room for unexpected situations, whether it be a cancelled flight, a surprise meeting or an impromptu speaking engagement. I welcome change in my life because I understand that the only way a person can grow and progress is through change.
As they say, experience is the best teacher, so allow me to share 3 of the most important lessons I learned about adapting to change:
3 Life Lessons on Adapting to Change
Lesson #1: You get what you TOLERATE.
People love to complain. It seems to have become a national pastime. Do you know people who always find a reason to complain? Whether it’s about their job, the government, their relationships, the money in their wallet, the cab driver, the burnt french fry… there seems to be something wrong everywhere they look.
If something hurts, why do you tolerate it?
Take an inventory of the different aspects of your life – your body, your finances, your career, your relationships, your emotional well-being. Do you like what you see? I hate to break it to you, but the quality of your life – good or bad – tells you what you have been tolerating all this time.
My choice not to tolerate certain things in my life is what enabled me to accomplish great things through my advocacies. If I tolerated the selfish culture within the voice acting industry, I wouldn’t have established my school, the Philippine Center for Voice Acting. If I tolerated the lack of opportunities for the youth to express themselves, I wouldn’t have founded Voice of the Youth Network. If I tolerated the absence of training on taking care of the voice, Voice Care Philippines would not be existing today.
Bottom line: you cannot improve the quality of your life with the mindset and behavior that brought you there in the first place, so why tolerate the average, the mediocre, the “okay” things in life, if you know you deserve something better?
Lesson #2: Change begins TODAY.
Not tomorrow, not next week, not “starting next month or next year.” The problem with thinking about doing something in the future is that your mind thinks it’s okay not to do anything RIGHT NOW. Remember that song from the classic musical “Annie”? Tomorrow is always a day away!
You see, it’s not only when shopping that we can give in to our impulse. When was the last time you thought of doing something – create a blog, exercise, make a follow-up call to a client, quit smoking – and actually did it right at that moment?
If you want to improve the quality of your life, you need to get into the habit of taking immediate action. This is the reason why I leave room for unexpected situations in my life. Many times, it is through those surprise meetings that I am able to launch new ideas and create partnerships that would help me do great things.
Lesson #3: AVAILABILITY is the best ability.
What if I tell you that I have arranged an all-expense paid, month-long vacation to Hawaii for you? All you need is to be at the airport at exactly 8am tomorrow. Will you be there?
Of course you would WANT to go, but then you’d have plenty of things to consider before you can get on that plane. “I have a report due at the end of the week.” “I need to let my boss know that I’ll be gone for a month!” “What about the kids? I need to do their laundry, do some grocery shopping…” “I haven’t gotten a US Visa!”
Most people go into panic mode after even the slightest change in their schedule because they have built their life around a routine they find difficult to get out of. Personally, I designed my life in such a way that my routine is not having a routine at all! That way, I can make myself available for the opportunities that come… even if that means getting a call at 5am inviting me to deliver a talk in 3 hours!
With all the things that I do as an entrepreneur, as a freelancer, and as a volunteer, I meet a lot of people who would want to be part of what I do, saying they would “really, really, really” like to do what I do. Then when I ask them to volunteer on my radio program or write an article on my website, most of them would not follow through. This made one thing clear to me – the people who are committed and dedicated to creating change are those who make themselves available for what they are committed to do. Your talent, skills, sense of humor, good looks and so-called dedication are useless if you’re not available to take the opportunity to prove them.
As I mentioned earlier, change is and will always be part of your life. So, instead of fighting it, be open and learn to adapt. Who knows, it could be the breakthrough change that could change your life for the better.