Author: August Clarke
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” – Narayana Murthy
The competition between growth and stagnancy is a battle that continues to be fought all over the world, affecting people everywhere. Inertia is embedded in human nature; we like routine. We like knowing what comes next. When we encounter an unfamiliar obstacle, it’s easy to panic, to run back through the door from which we came into a world of mundane familiarity.
But sometimes change is the very push we need to find contentment. Often, when you find yourself stressed out and worn down, it’s because there is something in your life that you are not content with.
Making some sort of change in your routine and lifestyle can be daunting – especially when it is significant – but in my experience, the outcome is usually worth it. Positive growth and change work hand in hand together. It is not possible to be the best version of ourselves if we refuse to develop naturally alongside the hurdles life throws at us. The important part is how we handle change, and how we can use it to improve our personal quality of life.
External Vs Internal Change
The way I think of it, there are two main types of change.
External change consists of events that happen to us that are beyond our control – for instance, moving to a new city or making the transition from middle school to high school, high school to university. Internal change is dependent on the choices that we make for ourselves to adjust some aspect of our lifestyle. This can be anything from dying your hair a different colour to shipping yourself off to Japan on an exchange program in your last year of high school.
Teens often get trapped into believing that their future is decided for them, and they are not in control of their own life. Odds are, when you were a little kid, your parents scheduled your playdates and selected your extracurriculars for you. It can be hard to give up something that you’ve leaned on your entire life, but sometimes moving on can be a good thing.
Teens often get trapped into believing that their future is decided for them, and they are not in control of their own life.”
One of my friends was active in competitive swimming ever since she was a little kid. Last year, she quit and decided to take up a new sport instead. She told me that she never truly enjoyed the competitive aspect of her swim team and that constantly fighting for gold time and again was a major drain on her energy and self-esteem. Ever since she made the decision to leave the team and join a new sport she has felt more confident, less stressed, and – over all – much happier. In her case, she made a personal choice to change a major aspect of her life because it was making her unhappy.
I faced a similar choice – while not the same – when I moved from junior high to high school. I was transitioning from a grade of about seventy kids to a grade of seven hundred. The change was daunting at first, but I chose to look on the bright side instead. My old friend group at my junior high school was incredibly competitive and toxic and I found myself looking for ways to move away from that group and find some new people to surround myself with.
While the transition from junior high to high school was an example of external change, the decision to change friend groups was not. The idea of entering new territory without anyone familiar at my side was intimidating and – for awhile – it was hard. But, by embracing the change rather than resisting it, I made it possible to leave behind a toxic aspect of my life in favour of a new, supportive group of friends that I have a lot in common with.
So why is change a good thing?
In short, embracing change allows us to grow as people, boost our confidence, and improve our overall contentment. Starting fresh provides us the opportunity to make choices for our own happiness and leave the negative aspects of our lives firmly in the past.
Is there a lot of change happening in your life? Want to talk about it? We’re here to listen.