Every year tends to bring with it a new chapter. A new beginning. A new adventure. The concept of novelty is highly sought after, despite how terrifying it can be. We’re creatures of habit, but we also get bored very quickly.
Life can be quite painful. We encounter tragedy at every corner. It’s essentially inevitable. What we have control over is our perception, reaction and ability to adapt. Let’s talk about accepting change, becoming resilient and seeking novel experiences.
To really understand why it’s so important to accept change, I always think about this quote:
“Change is inevitable, resistance is futile.”
It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. Nothing stays the same. All you can do is prepare and become receptive to the disruptions that are inbound.
I recently talked to a friend of mine about the concept of being in a cocoon. We start off being little caterpillars, content with our leaves and staying on the same branch – immature. Then life gets a little trickier and we decide to engulf ourselves in a chrysalis. It feels safer, more comfortable and we don’t have to deal with the external world.
The initial discomfort is a crucial step in the metamorphosis. It catalyzes our transformation into the best version of ourselves. Once we’ve adequately accepted the change, we start evolving into a butterfly and break out of the cocoon – matured. This is the point of escape; from limitations, negative self-talk and denial. We fly into the world stronger, faster, braver and more beautiful than ever.
What we don’t realize is that the difficult and new circumstances were a critical aspect of the transformation. We require novelty and a certain degree of hardship to grow.
And so, when we learn to continuously embrace challenges and try to overcome them, we become resilient. The reason I love talking about resilience is because it’s at the heart of learning.
When we experience change or disruption, we’re forced to adapt. When we learn to continuously adapt, it becomes easier for us to deal with more unprecedented changes. The cycle essentially feeds itself. We need to approach our fears with courage and prove to ourselves that we truly are capable of overcoming them.
Resilience allows us to try again. It allows us to keep pushing. It prevents us from giving up because deep down we know, we can do it.
If you really want to observe resilience at its best, just spend time in nature. Watch the trees and plants. Notice how they have absolutely no control over their environment, yet they find ways to thrive. Follow your nature and embrace the inevitable changes that are coming your way. In fact, you should go out of your way to face challenges that you’ve never experienced before.
Seeking Novel Experiences
Instead of waiting for changes to come your way, why don’t you go out to face them instead? I don’t just mean trying out a new restaurant or hotel, but I mean actual adventures that require some form of courage and dedication (I can see how you could argue that for restaurants or hotels, but you get my point here).
What I want you to understand here is that you can mentally (and I suppose physically) train yourself to get used to adapting. Not just to survive, but to get the hang of it and thrive. You prove to yourself that you’re capable of overcoming the discomfort, difficulty and uncertainty. The more you leave your comfort zone, the more you’re exposing yourself to growth.
The point I’m trying to make is that we’re always going encounter unfamiliar situations. It’s going to be scary, overwhelming and challenging. What we can control is our approach to and perception of those situations. We can look at the circumstances we’ve overcome in the past and utilize the same skills again in the future. We can turn those challenges into opportunities to grow.
If you just reflect over the past few months, you’ll realize that you’ve been remarkably resilient. You’ve endured an incredible amount of hardship and suffering. Yet you’re still here. You’re still fighting. You’re still giving it your best. Don’t give up when it’s hard. Smile and embrace the challenge. It’s going to transform you into the beautiful butterfly that you’ve been destined to become.