Have you ever felt the desire to drop everything and start over?
Have you ever wanted to make a clean slate?
Have you ever tried to radically change your life, becoming someone else?
Sometimes, when problems overwhelm us, we feel the need of a radical change. We assume that a radical change is the solution to all of our problems. As a matter of fact, all of us probably fantasize often with this idea. We imagine how our lives would be somewhere else, if we could wipe out the past, or that suddenly we became a different person. The radical change becomes a panacea.
However, the fact is that in most of the cases the radical change is not only unnecessary but may even be counterproductive.
Why radical change is not always the solution?
1. Radical change is not a magic wand. When we are overwhelmed by problems it is normal to assume a pessimistic attitude believing that nothing works in our lives. However, if we adopt certain emotional distance we realize that it’s not as it seems. There are areas we need to “tweak” and others that work pretty well and that can provide the basis for the change we really need. And, are you absolutely sure that the change will fix everything? That it will be an instant solution to all your problems? The bad news is that radical changes are often like a flood after a period of drought, only turns things worse.
2. Radical change doesn’t let you run away from yourself. If you apply the “Butterfly Effect” to your current situation, you will realize that your problems have been created in part by your decisions, attitudes and past behavior. This means that even if you change job, partner and country, if you don’t change yourself your problems will follow you everywhere you go because you are part of them. Thinking of a radical change of life without changing one’s self is as unproductive as changing the set of the movie when in fact the problem is the actor. Therefore, before you take the plunge, are you absolutely sure that you’ll do better elsewhere and the problems do not reappear, or is it just an illusion?
3. Radical change can lead to inaction. Some people want their life to change but do not want to change their life. This is not a pun, but it is a fact that some want to change their life but are not willing to work to achieve it. Radical change, being so unspecific, lends itself to inaction. Not knowing where to start, it is usual that the idea of the change becomes an utopia that only serves to generate frustration, because we compare continually our current situation to the desired one. But we keep doing nothing to make things change. Therefore it is appropriate to ask yourself: do you really want to change or are using the idea of a radical change as an excuse for keeping things as they are?
4. Radical change is scary. When we think about a radical change normally we focus on the results, we see ourselves at the end of the journey, calm and satisfied with what we achieved. However, when it comes time to get the work done we realize that everything is not that simple, radical changes often demand great sacrifices, risks, and somehow are like jumping into the void without a parachute. Obviously, that’s scary. And fear paralyzes us before we start. On the contrary, if we plan small steps, we will have greater control over the situation and we can achieve the change we wanted without anxiety. So it is always recommended that you ask yourself: is there a safer way from the emotional standpoint of undertaking the change?
5. Radical change won’t lead to paradise as you can imagine. Many people cherish the idea of radically changing their lives as if it were a panacea, as if it means reaching a paradise where everything is perfect. However, any new country, relationship or work are hiding difficulties and will bring us new challenges. Thinking of radical change as a paradise will only disappoint you and make you wonder if so much effort has been worthwhile. Change involves improving but doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect, and it is important to be prepared for the new challenges that we can find on our way. Remember, it is easier to wear comfortable shoes than put a soft carpet on the entire world. Then, ask yourself: am I trying to escape from a reality that I don’t like to search for paradise, or I’m just looking for a place where I can feel better?
Of course, these ideas don’t mean that radical change is not possible, and in some cases, even necessary. They want to be just an alarm to help you reflect before taking the big step.