Change is unavoidable. If we decide to sit on the couch all day today and do absolutely nothing, the earth will still spin, light will turn to darkness, dust will settle and gradually we'll look less and less appealing. Change happens even when we attempt to remain the same.
People often notice change when something that used to work no longer does, a child refuses to ever sing the bathtime song and happily hop into the tub again, a couple no longer enjoys their Sunday routine, the customers stop coming in, your everyday hairstyle all of the sudden looks completely absurd, your clothes don't fit and you aren't a "go getter" anymore.
The problem isn't the changes. It's that we aren't initiating them. A life lived in a constant state of conforming and reacting after change is perpetually unfulfilling and without rest. Our goals and dreams remain vapors of hope floating in the ethers because we're wholly consumed with responding to the changes of the day, week, month and, ultimately, of our lifetime.
If you come from a family where this is the norm, and droves of us do, it's extradinarily difficult to recognize this pattern. It's thoroughly ingrained in our thinking processes and feels natural. For us, the single greatest step in breaking this habit is becoming aware of it. We must become an observer of ourselves and examine the why's behind our decisions. Are we motivated by a desire to become, achieve, improve or preempt something? Or, are we usually attempting to handle something that has already happened?
Admittedly, there are some events that you cannot forsee or influence (catastrophes, true surprises, etc.), but the overwhelming majority of life's events can be anticipated, shaped, improved and capitalized on.
The solution: shift from being a reactionary to an innovator.
An innovator is constantly focused on creating, growing and improving. She takes action to advance the causes of her life's mission and purpose. (Don't have your very own life mission and purpose? What are you waiting for? This life, it's the real thing, not a dress rehearsal.) She knows what matters to her and takes daily steps toward making it happen in a new, better, more efficient, joyful, and successful way.
Change is not a guide the innovator follows on his life's path. It's a supporter or a challenge that the he expects and is prepared to use in a way that serves his unique interests. Though a major change may take him off track or even set him back, his ingrained drive to innovate shortens the duration of the crisis and holds him steady. He knows that whatever damage change has wrought is temporary, he has a life to live.
Consider the difference this shift makes over a lifetime, it's extraordinary. Isn't it time you become an innovator?