Learning to love change

May 08, 2021

One day, so the story goes, the Buddha was sitting under the Bodhi tree surround by his followers. After mediating together, one person broke the stillness with a question. 

“Oh Awakened One, you have taught us so many truths but what is the ultimate truth in life?”

The Buddha replied, “Everything changes.”

This story is especially relevant now as all thing are changing - and changing quickly. The pandemic has, in one year, changed so many things for all of us.

It’s difficult to plan for the future. In many case, what was best practice in the past is not applicable now. ‘Business as usual’ simply doesn’t work in this new world.

The reality is that this pandemic is not going to end soon, and when it does what will our lives, our businesses, our world look like?

So how do we cope, both professionally and personally, now?

Well, the Buddha said it when he said “everything changes”.  If you understand that, you will not become attached to plans and systems and outcomes. You will live in the present moment. Right here, right now. What needs to be done right now? Do it and move on to the next moment. Do what needs to be done in that moment and move on. Go with the flow.

It doesn’t mean you don’t have a plan. It means you don’t set that plan in stone. You give yourself options - because everything changes.

I’m not for one moment suggesting any of this is easy. We all know that embracing change is one of the hardest things a person can do. We are all creatures of habit. A change of job, or location, or health, or relationship can have a profound effect on anyone.

And when the change is as vast and as fast as we have seen in the last 14 months it’s hard to stay grounded and hopeful. Any change causes stress, and will magnify anxiety and depression.

Psychologists have a name for what happens to people having a hard time adjusting to change: adjustment disorder. Symptoms can include tearfulness, fear and hopelessness.

So we need to adjust our attitude to change. If, as the Buddha said, everything changes then let’s celebrate change as an essential and inevitable part of life and business.

We are all astonishingly creative in our different ways. Let’s embrace change as the spark that ignites even more creativity in every aspect of our lives.

This has been a tough year. So maybe it’s good to recall another piece of advice by the Buddha: “Nothing is permanent.”

No matter how bad a situation may be… it will change.