How The Fear Of Change Inhibits Development

How The Fear Of Change Inhibits Development
How The Fear Of Change Inhibits Development

Video: How The Fear Of Change Inhibits Development

Video: Fueled by the Fear of Change | Sara Beth Urban | TEDxTullahoma 2022, December

The unknown is always frightening, causing tremendous resistance in any incomprehensible situations, including those that promise a change for the better. To understand the issue and understand what is the reason for this fear, T&D and the online education service Yandex.Praktikum figured out how to overcome it.

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We want change and strive for stability at the same time

Human nature is extremely contradictory: on the one hand, we strive for progress, because it brings with it new opportunities and improvements. On the other hand, we subconsciously strive for stability, change can be associated with the rejection of something time-tested and, therefore, deliberately good in favor of something completely new and unknown.

According to data published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, people consider longevity to be the main criterion for good quality. In one experiment in the study, student participants preferred the old course schedule to the new one without even assessing whether the updated version meant fewer class hours. Simply because the original version seemed more familiar to them. And when they heard later that the old schedule had remained unchanged for hundreds of years, the students became even more confident in their opinion.

The unknown is inevitably stressful.

The earliest written definition of fear of the unknown as one of the fundamental fears inherent in man is found in the American writer and philosopher Howard Lovecraft: "The oldest and strongest emotion of humanity is fear, and the oldest and most powerful fear is fear of the unknown." His words were later confirmed by studies of neuroscientists, who also emphasized a direct relationship between fear of the unknown and increased levels of stress and anxiety.

We are afraid of changes, because, deciding on them, we take great risks, because the result is always unpredictable. And it drives us crazy.

Scientists: confidence in a bad outcome of the situation is better than the unknown

In 2016, a team of researchers published the results of one of the most challenging experiments on the relationship between uncertainty and stress levels. Volunteers who agreed to take part in it were offered to play a simple computer game. They had to turn over stones, under each of which a snake could hide. Players who stumbled upon a snake received a painful electric shock.

During the experiment, the researchers tracked stress levels for several physiological indicators, including sweating and dilated pupils. In addition, they asked the participants themselves to talk about the moments at which they experienced more stress. The main finding was that both subjective and objective measures of stress levels peak under conditions of greatest uncertainty. At the same time, the uncertainty was much more stressful for the players than the predictable negative consequences.

Resisting change is not going to help you. The only solution is to succumb to the unknown

A secondary result of the experiment described above was that those participants whose stress levels reflected the actual level of uncertainty performed better than others at the task. This confirms the fact that uncertainty stimulates us to adapt. Having lost control of the situation, we practice the reaction to changing conditions and possible risks and use each neuron to regain control.

Uncertainty is impossible to control, and anxiety and resistance can only exacerbate the situation. But being aware of what is happening to you can greatly reduce the pain of change. To make a decision to make a change, you need to be in touch with your emotions and fears, which are controlling you and can interfere with this process.They will be different for everyone - and they will also appear in different ways.

What can you do to cope with your fear of the unknown and stop being afraid of change? Psychologist's advice

Tatiana Podoprigora

Practicing clinical psychologist, consultant psychologist with five years of experience; works with topics of self-determination, changing professions, building relationships with others, with the world and with oneself

“It is important to understand that changes - in particular, the transition to a new profession - often affect the image of" I "and are inextricably linked with changes in identity, affect what a person will think of himself in a new quality. There are no universal instructions and algorithms that would suit all people. But a few simple steps will help start the process of self-exploration and find an individual formula."

Formulate your own value

If identity is built around an old profession, then after changing it, a person is afraid of losing himself. The following questions will help here: “Who am I?”, “What am I?”, “Why do I value myself?”, “Why do others value me?”, “What do they turn to me?”

In different states, people tend to give different answers to these questions. For example, it is more difficult for a tired and depressed person to give themselves a sounder criticism. Therefore, try to ask yourself these questions in different states over a period of time - for example, every day for a couple of weeks. And collect at least ten answers for each.

Shift your focus

The important thing is not to try to get rid of the fear, but to find a way to act even when you are scared. When we focus on taking action rather than dealing with our own fear, we are more effective. What will help to shift the focus of attention to action? Think back to an experience in your life when you enjoyed acting, playing and experimenting. Think about what part of the upcoming changes will give you pleasure, and build on this feeling.

Plan change consistently

First, you need to decide if you are willing to act. If it is not there, then the planning process most often comes down to unproductive fantasy, which replaces the person's need for change. The unwillingness to act can manifest itself in the form of procrastination and the expectation that the situation will change on its own, without our participation. Often we take the unwillingness to move for laziness and scold ourselves, we consider it a weakness. Admitting weaknesses is a difficult and daring task, and if you do it without self-accusation or self-flagellation, it becomes easier, and self-flagellation often increases procrastination.

Second, break the big task down into small daily steps. The following self-exploration questions will help you: “Do my plans help me?”, “Am I fulfilling them?”, “How do I feel when I imagine myself in a new job / in a new profession? Why do I feel this way? "," What am I ready for in reality? "," What can I do now?"

Create the right environment for yourself

When you have people around you who approve and support your drive for change, it helps you move forward. This can be anyone: friends, a psychologist, or a mentor. The latter will support you, discover your strengths together with you, form a new picture of the world, record results and achievements. And it's also good if there is at least one person in the environment who has already achieved what you dream about. So you will move towards the assigned tasks, being inspired by his successes.

Look for what works for you

It is important to study what personally motivates you to take action, because the conditions for change are different for everyone. Someone ignites rivalry, but suppresses someone, someone helps drawing up a detailed plan, and for someone it is more important to take the first step, and deal with the consequences later, for someone it is convenient to move quickly, and for someone - slowly, gradually adapting to changes.Take the time to get to know yourself and the change conditions that are comfortable for you. This can be done on your own or with a specialist.

The Yandex.Practicum team believes: everyone can change their lives, everyone can learn new things, everyone can start today. Even if it didn't work before. The course programs are designed for everyone who wants to master a demanded digital profession or skills from scratch and is ready to allocate time and energy for this, and experienced mentors can guide and help overcome difficulties.

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