You will have heard someone say, “People don’t like change”. Did you ever stop to think why they said it? I suggest that someone who says “People don’t like change” is using it as an excuse for the failure of their own strategy for change (If they had one at all). Let us debunk that myth, because people do like change. Here is why.
Let us debunk the myth that people don’t like change.
First it is a cliché. At best clichés are unhelpful and prevent deeper thinking and analysis. At worst, they are destructive and harmful. They represent lazy thinking and perpetrate unhelpful myths. I cringe every time I hear them.
Secondly it is wrong. I believe that people who say “People don’t like change” is using it as an excuse for the failure of their own strategy for change (If they had one at all).
When I hear someone say “People do not like change”, I believe they are talking nonsense.
People do like change
I believe people do like change. Look at the evidence around you! People change jobs, partners, friends, what they eat, what they wear and where they go. They do not do exactly the same thing, in exactly the same clothes in exactly the same place every day. They change.
Absolutely no change is equivalent to torture. In fact, if you were to put a person in a completely unchanging environment, an isolation tank, blindfold them and piped white noise into their heads, so nothing changed for them, you would be accused of torture. Our eyes and brains are tuned to identify change. It is how we survive. Change is natural and people like change.
“People do not like change” is an excuse. They are blaming others for their own inability to manage change and bring change about. They are the failures, not those they are trying to influence or change. They are making an excuse for their own failings. They are failing to recognise the problem lies in their own lack of flexibility or ability to manage and help others to change for themselves. Controversial, yes, but also true.
People don’t like change… when it is outside their control
There is of course a nugget of truth in this cliche.
What people do not like is being told to change, not being involved in the change or not being consulted.
People like to feel they have some control over the changes that affect them. They like influence over their lives.
People don’t like being ‘changed’. people don’t like being told to change. These are quite different from, people do not like change.
The issue is autonomy and influence and control of change
So the real issue here is autonomy and control. Do I have control over my life and environment? Can I influence it? Or is someone else changing stuff that affects me without involving me and asking what i would like?