Matt Knight

My thoughts on faith, books, and life in general

Coping with Change


It’s been said that the only constant in life is change. In our lives, we constantly must deal with changes. Maybe it’s big changes, like a career move, a marriage or a divorce, or other big life change. But we also face small changes – maybe it’s bad weather that forces a change of plans, or someone around us doesn’t do what we hope or expect. In times like this, we have to be able to deal with change.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…” – Reinhold Niebur

When we fail to change, we can get stuck in a rut. One of my college professors, Dr Paul Fink, said “a rut is just a grave with the ends knocked out.” This reminds us that if we’re alive, we need to make appropriate and necessary changes. The only institution that rejects change, it’s been said, is the cemetery.

Change can be difficult, but we can do it.

The other piece of the puzzle is knowing what to change, and what not to. And here, it’s vital to have some core principles. There are some things in our life that must stay the same. Change for its own sake is foolish. And it’s also foolish to blindly change everything. Bad change can be as bad (or worse) than staying the same. This is why we have to differentiate core principles from our methods, traditions, or habits.

The principles are the What’s and the Why’s of our life or organization; our methods are the how’s.

Methods change, but core principles should stay the same.

Hopefully, our principles should guide us when we need to make some changes. With this new year, maybe in your life there are changes that you need to make. It could be about your health or fitness, or maybe there are some habits you need to break (or good habits you want to form).

One last quote:

“Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.” – Francis Bacon

The natural way of things is to move from a state of order to a state of disorder (this is called ““entropy”). Things naturally change – it’s a fact of life. Francis Bacon was saying that if we do not intentionally change things for the better, they will naturally change for the worse. It’s our principles that help us know the right changes from the wrong ones.

So for you and I to cope with change, we need to understand three things:

1) Change is inevitable
2) We must change methods from time to time, but hold fast to principles
3) Let our principles guide us, so we can make the right changes

What do you need to change?

What things need to stay the same?

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