Embrace Change

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Principle #31 is Embrace Change in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”.

Part of Jack’s message is to embrace the changes in your life, rather than fight them. Another part of his message is that these changes often help us grow.

Change is Constant

As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “change is the only constant in life.” That’s an important concept to grasp. Change happens. People that fight change often find that they’re spending quite a bit of time and energy in battles. If they can instead, accept and embrace the change, they often find that it is change for the better.

As an example, Congress decided in 2005 to close Fort Monroe (in Hampton, Virginia) and it was ultimately decommissioned in September, 2011 after a lengthy decommissioning period. I went there several times during this period while working as a contractor at Langley Air Force Base. Each time I went there, I heard people complaining and in general, simply miserable about the situation.

However, there were fewer and fewer people there each time I went (though I always heard complaints from the people that remained). The people that embraced the change moved on to other jobs at Fort Eustis, Langley Air Force Base, or elsewhere.

One IT expert I knew was one of the first to move and quickly ascended to a director’s position at Fort Eustis. Another lady I knew started looking right away and accepted a lateral move to a job at Norfolk Naval Station. That might not seem like much, but she lives in Virginia Beach and this change eliminated her daily commute through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, a source of many traffic delays in Hampton Roads.

I can’t tell you definitively how it worked out for everyone that left before 2011. I can tell you that they didn’t remain in an undesirable situation for six years, feeling miserable, and filling their days with complaining.

Gratefully, 22 years in the US Navy helped me adapt to change. Every one to three years, I was packing up my belongings and headed somewhere new. Sometimes it was familiar places such as Orlando, Homestead, and Pensacola Florida. Other times it was completely unfamiliar places such as Diego Garcia, Misawa Japan, Okinawa Japan, and Clark Air Base in the Philippines.

These places had me experiencing changes in my work environment, my responsibilities, my peers and bosses, and often significant changes in cultures.  I learned to look forward to the changes and the different experiences they provided. More, I recognize that these changes helped me grow in many different ways.

Embrace Change As Growth

You don’t have to wait for change to happen. You can create changes in your life that will help you grow. I’ve recently been reading several books from John C. Maxwell and I find a recurring theme in his books – personal growth isn’t accidental. Instead, “growth comes from making decisions and following through on them.”

“You will never change your life
until you change something you do daily.”

– John C. Maxwell, in “Today Matters

When using change for personal growth, it’s important to measure your progress against yourself. If you compare your growth against others, you will almost always find that you don’t measure up.

Here are a couple of examples where I’ve embraced change through growth.

  • Last December, I set one of my annual goals to read (or listen to) at least one book month for a total of 12 books. Compared to some CEOs that read four to five books a month, my goal is modest. Still, it’s more than I was reading last year and represents personal growth for me.
  • Similarly, I decided to go through The Success Principles again, study them, and write about them on a weekly basis. While I’ve missed a couple of weeks, this process has provided personal growth for me as I’ve reminded myself of the concepts in these principles.

How Can You Embrace Change?

Is there a change in your life that you are resisting? Is it possible to turn this around and embrace it?

“When change happens,
you can either cooperate
with it and learn how to benefit
from it or you can resist
it and eventually get run over
by it. It’s your choice.”

– Jack Canfield

Is there something you can change in your life to enhance your growth? It doesn’t have to be anything drastic, it can be something as simple as any one of the following simple acts that you can add into your life.

Note: These only allow you to embrace change as growth if they aren’t something you’re already doing. If you’re already running more than 365 miles a year, taking a daily walk for 10 minutes isn’t growth:).

  • Laugh at least once a day.
  • Smile at least five times a day.
  • Read for at least 10 minutes a day.
  • Take a daily walk for at least 10 minutes.
  • Express at least one genuine compliment daily.
  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day in purposeful thinking.
  • Identify your core values and review them on a daily basis.
  • Do at least one thing daily to build your personal relationships.
  • Ensure you give your significant other at least one sincere compliment a day.
  • Review your finances and create a plan to invest and/or save at least a specific amount.
  • Take the time to identify your life purpose, or mission statement (if you don’t have one).
  • Review your charitable giving and create a plan to give at least a specific amount to the charities of your choice.

About This Post

I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.


Here’s a link to other musing’s on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.


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1 Comment

  1. This is a good post, Darril. I enjoyed it. Positivty helps and so does those steps you mentioned above.. love it.

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