The opportunity of change

Opportunity does not exist without change. Though most people say they would welcome opportunity, far fewer people are open to real and substantive change. Yet to take advantage of opportunity you must be open to change. There is no other way. Real, meaningful opportunity is not a free ride. It is a challenge. A big part of the challenge is change. Opportunities are all too often portrayed as something for nothing. In reality, there is no such thing. Opportunity involves effort, and a big part of that effort comes about through change—changing your attitude, changing your perspective, changing your thinking, changing your actions.

You must manage and respond to change so that it will work for you, rather than against you. That is how you take advantage of opportunities. When you put yourself on the side of change, when you work with it rather than against it, you get the powerful momentum of change moving in your favor. It is futile to fight against compelling changes, and far more productive to find a way to make them work for you.

Though change is an essential part of life, it is not everything. As with most other things of value and power, change works best when it is well balanced. In order to truly benefit from change, there must be a part of you that remains steady. As strange as it might seem at first, to effectively embrace change it helps immeasurably to be firmly rooted. Change almost always involves letting go. That takes courage, faith and confidence. In order to let go of the superficial things, you must have something substantial to which you can hold on firmly.

A solid and steady foundation provides you with the courage and confidence to make any changes work in your favor. It also gives you a secure sanctuary where you can find refuge from the turmoil and uncertainty that always accompany change. A strong commitment to such steadying influences as family, faith, community and moral values can enable you to be a dynamic and effective agent of positive change. Without that solid foundation, change can confuse, weaken, sidetrack and even devastate.

Yet when you are strong enough to deal with change, that change can energize. It can refresh. It can bring you new and valuable perspectives. It can teach you and give you useful experience. It can introduce you to new and fascinating people who can bring richness to your life. It can make the world dramatically better. It can make you much more effective. It can make an enormous positive difference.

Expectations play a key role in the process of change. Negative expectations often make impending changes seem more foreboding than they really are. On the other hand, positive expectations can bring good results out of even the most threatening changes.

What you expect in large part determines what you get. Rarely does anyone ever do any better than they expect to do. Expectations alone do not create anything, yet they direct and focus creative energy and the actions that result from that energy. Expect the worst of change, and your fear and apprehension will become self-fulfilling prophecies. Expect the best of change, and your creative ingenuity will find a way to make it so.

Many of your negative expectations regarding change may come from past experience. You might recall the difficult, devastating changes and those memories could build a negative bias toward all change. It is a tragic assumption, however, to project the disappointments of the past onto the expectations of the future. If you are ever to enjoy success and accomplishment, you must take the initiative and make the effort to break that self-fulfilling, downward-spiraling cycle. Regardless of what has happened before, summon the strength and faith to develop positive expectations for the changes that are to come. You’re not obligated to justify your expectations, just to fulfill them. No matter what has happened to you in the past, you are free to choose any expectation you desire for the future. You are not locked into anything. Each day is a new day, each moment a new opportunity to point your life forward and steer a course toward the best that you can imagine for yourself.