#BlogElul 16 – Change
As I mentioned yesterday, learning leads to change. Change is probably the scariest thing in the world, to many people. Others restlessly seek it out, bored with the everyday. What is it about change?
The need for security and safety is very fundamental to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, just above such basics such as food and shelter.
For many people, comfort and security are found in routine – in the repetition of the familiar. Children, in particular, need to know exactly what is going to happen at any given time, but even adults can become anxious if they feel out of control.
So what happens when things change?
Our Lizard Brain, the Resistance that lives in an ancient part of our brain, immediately starts protecting us from any danger that might follow. Our first reaction is generally to reject the change, regardless of any rational reasons to consider it an improvement. Different is scary and bad.
If we can get ourselves past this instinctive reaction, magic can happen. If we can open ourselves up to change, we can bid the old way of doing things a fond farewell, and look to improve.
This is not an easy thing to do. Look at the lengths to which Moses had to go to get the Israelite slaves to stand up and walk out of the land of slavery. Miracles and plagues and splitting of the Red Sea, oh my!
Even so, at the slightest opportunity they wanted to go back to the old ways, horrible as they were. In the end, they were so inflexible that they had to die in the desert and never see the Promised Land. It’s easy for us, with the benefit of hindsight, to make fun of them, but we should not.
Imagine if someone came to you and told you to leave everything you were doing, and had been doing for 400 years. It doesn’t matter if your life is awful by objective standards, if it is the only life you have ever known, it’s going to be very hard to leave it behind.
If nobody turns staffs into snakes or water into blood for your benefit, you will have to muster the courage to step into the unknown yourself. If you have done so, give yourself the kudos you deserve.
If you are afraid to make a change that you know will benefit you, take heart. Courage is an attribute you can develop in yourself. Surround yourself with support and love, and step out in faith.
Just watch out for those frogs.