When was the last time you experienced something new?
Picture your morning routine. Now picture it five or ten years ago. Certain aspects will inevitably have changed, even for the creatures of habit amongst us. Maybe it is something as simple as a different breakfast, perhaps it is a new commute, or it may just be checking emails on a phone instead of a computer. Regardless of whether a change is subtle or substantial, it will impact upon our day-to-day lives at some point.
From physical differences to dramatic changes in our environment, we frequently adapt to new situations, either voluntarily or reluctantly. Hindsight often helps us determine whether the change was positive or negative, but our mindset will inevitably affect the outcome. Maya Angelou claimed“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude”.
As such, when something is out of our control, accepting the situation and adapting is often the best solution. The Holocaust survivor and professor of Neurology Victor Frankl detailed extreme examples of this in his experiences at concentration camps. It is important to stress, however, that accepting a situation does not mean giving up; simply adapting to a new environment and the challenges it brings.
A lighter example could be a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Sidestepping the philosophical debate of whether the caterpillar knows what it will become, it is fair to say the change will ultimately prove to be a success; it is hard to envisage growing wings being a bad thing!
However, our opinions on change may differ drastically. What can seem like a trivial difference to one person will be a dramatic shift to another. Our past experiences and current state mean we interpret various signs very differently. The Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder compared grief and apprehension to illustrate his view that future unknown changes were worse than past experiences. He felt that we could deal with past events whereas we would fear what we did not know. Perhaps a fear of the future could include potential changes to the dynamic of friendships, or perhaps we would simply envisage a worse scenario than the present. Whichever way we look at it, there are always lessons to be learnt when new things arise.
As Walt Disney said“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”.