Do you remember the first time you did something new and exciting? It was a big thing, right? But you also got used to it, right?
We get used to almost everything in life. That’s a good thing, but it can also be bad at the same time.
One of the strengths of humans is that we get used to almost everything. That ability helped us to survive and evolve.
The first time I got on an airplane, I was 16 and thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Now, I just see it as a way of transport, nothing else. Flying didn’t change. It’s still an amazing thing like Louis C.K. says:
“Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going: “Oh my God! Wow!” You’re flying! You’re sitting in a chair, in the sky!”
I changed. I got used to it. Like with many things. When I moved to London a few years ago, I thought that I would never get bored again. I thought that moving cities would solve my problems—life gets mundane quickly.
In the beginning, it worked. I was out all the time, exploring new places. But after a while, I got used to it.
Do you see the pattern? We get used to everything — even things we don’t deliberately decide.
But most of us, see ‘change’ as the magical answer to everything in life.
- “I just need a change of scenery.”
- “A new home will make us happier.”
- “I feel stuck in my job. I know the answer: I should get a new job.”
- “A new relationship will make me feel whole again.”
- “I need to change cities because I’m tired of the one I live in.”
- “I’ll be happy when I change my wardrobe.”
Humans are, like Seth Godin says, storytelling machines. We love to tell ourselves and other people all kinds of stories.
While the changes you make might get you short-term happiness or excitement — in time, you get used to them. You get used to your new partner, your new job, traveling the world.
And then what? Do it all over again? We have this innate drive to chase new things. But change is not always better.
Before you believe the stories you tell yourself, or other people tell you, stop for a second and think about it.
When you feel the urge to change something in your life, ask yourself: What’s the outcome?
If you can’t think of a good outcome, stop trying to change.
Because change is only good for one reason: Improvement.
“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” ― Napoléon Bonaparte
Will a change of scenery really solve the reason you needed that change in the first place?
If moving to a different city improves your life in the long-term because you have an opportunity waiting for you — move. But don’t move because you believe in a fairytale that big cities equal more opportunities.
That’s just one of the stories that people like to tell. And that particular story might have been true 100 years ago, but not today.
And there are thousands of other stories out there.
My point is this: Challenge everything. Especially your own thinking process.
But the problem is that you can’t trust your own mind at times. We tend to lie to ourselves.
“Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Keep challenging yourself—because change for the sake of change is not a reason to change something. There are no silver bullets, so why search for one in change?
Instead, get down to the reason you want to change something. Yes sure, it requires introspection and patience. But that’s worth it, especially if you see that most changes are unnecessary or don’t solve any problems at all.
Change is great, but not if you don’t get better from it.