The Myth of the Threat of Change

The Myth of the Threat of Change — many people fear change, so they stay stuck. Yet the fear is almost always baseless.

Wayne C. Allen

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Our topic continues.

What follows is taken from a new book I’m working on. We’ll look at some beliefs that we could well do without over the next few weeks. This is a bit of the introductory stuff.

A myth is defined as “a theme or character type embodying an idea.” In other words, a myth is a story that explains how some aspect of the world works.

For example, virtually all cultures have a “creation of the world” myth, and a myth about how people came to be — about how people are blessed by God or the gods, and have dominion over the earth.

We have also created political myths, hero myths, myths about wealth creation (typically called “economic theories,”) and even scientific myths.

Those of you born in the early 50’s will remember being taught, in grade school, the solar system model of the atom. Big nucleus, little electrons circling in orbits around the nucleus. Then, in High School, we learned how many electrons could occupy each orbit.

Now, we know that there are no such things as orbits, that sub-atomic particles make up the atom, that they are actually waves, that we cannot know both their speed and their location (making them sort of not there,) and then, we find out that atoms are 99.9999999 per cent nothing.

At least, that’s the current myth.

We seem to need someone in authority to tell us what is real, as opposed to understanding that both nothing and everything is real.

Which means that when asked what is real, a good, truthful scientist (the shamans of our age) will say, “That depends.”

The Myth of the Threat of Change

threat of change
Laughing in the face of change

John Savage, a trainer in conflict resolution, describes various “neuro-sorting” techniques to help us see how our minds are set up. Research backs up the percentages below. (i.e. it’s not fake news… 😉 )

One is called the “Sameness — Difference Sort. It speaks to the threat of change.”

  • 10% of the population are Sameness types. They actively resist change. Profound change for these folk happens once every 25 years.
  • 40% are Sameness/Difference types. They prefer to stay the same, but will change if strongly convinced. The make a profound change once in 10 years.
  • 40% are Difference/Sameness types. They prefer change, but like it to be gradual and non-threatening. They make profound changes once every 5 years, and prefer newness. (Savage equates them with people who shop at the same mall, because there are 100 stores, as opposed to trying a new mall.)
  • 10% are Difference types. They thrive on change and stagnate if things get too predictable. They embrace change as a friend. They change profoundly almost yearly. Savage calls them “channel surfers.”

It doesn’t take Einstein to see that 90% of the population resists, at some level, making changes. Profound, earth-shaking change? Leave me out.

So… what about the model we use and teach?

To shift to the Zen-based self-responsibility model is to change the entire belief system you are operating under. Under this model, rules, behaviours, standards, ethics — all become conditional, situational and self-determined. Scary stuff.

Given the above, 90% of the population will, at some level, resist making this (or any significant) shift. The level of resistance tells us where on the bell curve the person is.

  • 10% of the population will “never” change.
  • 80% that will change if persuaded, coerced or convinced that it is in their best interest to do so.
  • As we move more to the right on the bell curve, the more likely it is that the person will see the need for change.
  • At the 85% and above stage, the person may even seek help in changing.
  • For the top 5%, change is relatively effortless.

This bell curve demonstrates why we say that change terrifies the vast majority of people.

People can be herded anywhere, so long as each step is small. Make a huge change, and they’ll be out in the streets, protesting. Incremental change, and anything can happen.

Look at the population of Germany in the 30’s. Hitler did what he did through incremental change. He presented a message about a return to the old ways of thinking, then tossed out someone to blame, and in a few years, the whole population shifted. Shades of Trump today.

The funny thing is, though, change is actually the “truth” of life.

Everything is changing, all the time. This scares us; it does so because at a deep, primal level, we recognize that the direction of the change, for us as individuals, is death.

Each day brings death one day closer. So we try to hold on, as opposed to flowing along comfortably in the sea of change.

Because we fear change, we are stuck in denial.

Change is only as threatening as we make it. We needlessly complicate our lives by fearing what is already our reality. The world is changing at a faster pace than ever before in history, and the pace of change is accelerating. You can try to fight it, but all you are going to do is hurt yourself in the process.

Much better to talk with someone about processing through to a new, self-responsible state. It’s not easy, but it is do-able.

Because staying stuck in a dysfunctional belief system is a sure way to waste 5 years… or 50. It’s a great way to be content being miserable.

After all, it’s not like life goes on forever. Misery and stuckness is a choice. A better one is to set yourself free.

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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