Monday, September 03, 2007

Ready or Not -Time Marches On

I'm in the midst of a big 'technology overhaul' process in my life at the moment. I've recently upgraded a couple of my software applications to the newest versions and now I stand trembling in my shoes at the thought of converting over to the new Vista operating system and Office 2007. The new Office is pretty darn different from the old school versions which I have come to know and love. My rhetoric has softened a lot since Office 2007 first came out. At that time, I was certain it was going to be a colossal failure. I just knew that rational people everywhere would reject the software and Microsoft would have to come to their senses, give us back our menus and get rid of these silly ribbon things. Well, Office 2007 is doing just fine. In fact, many people really like it. Go figure. Over these many months I have come to accept that I'm the one who has to come to my senses. I've resisted this change as long as I can and now its time to face the music.

So why do we humans resist change so persistently? Why do we put off the inevitable? I think there are some important and legitimate answers to this question and it does us a great benefit to explore this issue rather than sweep it under the rug.

In my case, I have a tremendous fear of losing my high level of productivity. I am really afraid of needing to crank something out quickly in Word or Excel (two of the Office applications) and finding myself incapable of figuring it out. Time pressure and lack of knowledge is a deadly combination for me. Or so my fear tells me.

I'm also a creature of habit. Ask anyone who has seen me enthusiastically and happily watch a movie for the 25th time. Repetition and the 'known' is comforting to me. I feel insecure and unstable when I'm learning new things. Accepting new technology puts me squarely out of my comfort zone and into the squirming zone.

There is also probably a little bit of attachment to the 'old' ways of doing things for nostalgia's sake. I enjoy the fact that I've been around the computing world for a loooooong time and remember when all this (now obsolete) stuff was the absolute cutting edge. Now I can barely keep up with the cutting edge and it makes me feel a bit obsolete! :)

I also resent 'change for change's sake' and sometimes I feel that in the area of technology, things are changed to look spiffier and create an image of 'newness' when nothing substantial changes. In fact, I'm often irritated when new versions of software come out - leaving major problems unsolved, but with new ways to accomplish the same old stuff. New things for me to learn while I work around the same old problems that have been there since the beginning of time. Frustrating indeed.

Of all my 'reasons' for resisting change, the only 'legitimate' one might be that last one. The others, however, reflect a deeper personality trait that is very strong in me, and I believe is present in most humans to a certain level.

Those reasons for resisting the march of time and progress, while understandable, hold me back from fulfilling my potential. Ever watch a young person with a computer or any other electronic device? They just go for it and figure it out. Seemingly without effort. One aspect of their behavior that leads to success is their fearlessness. They aren't worried about what will happen if they screw up the system and can't print the next day, or open a software application. It doesn't occur to them to be afraid. That is the big difference between some of us, ummm... older folks and the young ones.

We can really take a lesson from the way younger people embrace and use technology. I do alright for a 40-something, ex computer professional, but I seek to move more easily and fluidly from one technological advance to the next.

I believe by doing so I blaze a new way of being in this world in general. Letting go of the old is important for being able to receive and celebrate the new. It's no less true in the world of technology than it is in any area of life.

I guess that my 'lesson' about this comes at me in many ways, and right now is showing up in my relationship to technology.

My teacher, Dr. Chuck Bruni, used to always say, "What we resist persists. What we fight against grows stronger." Ain't it the truth? The longer I struggle and fight against something, the more it comes at me. All my resistance and struggle does is exhaust me so that I have less energy to invest in moving forward, which I always end up doing anyway. Why waste all that energy in resisting and pretending I don't have to face it?

So, hold good thoughts for me as I make the shift into a whole new world of software. I will be using it as a powerful 'statement' to myself about my willingness to embrace the inevitable process of change that IS life itself.

Is there some change that is looming in your life? Are you ignoring, denying or resisting it? I encourage you to explore the 'reasons' why you are dragging your heels, and see if you can't identify some patterns that might be holding you back in life. Be compassionate with yourself. Be honest. So many times, what we have resisted isn't nearly as huge as we feared it would be. It might be time to grab that bull by the horns and start challenging your old ways of doing things, and move more fully into your potential!

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