“Progress is impossible without change” said George Bernard Shaw. This is true, as progress is defined as “development towards an improved or more advanced condition” and the word development implies change.
But the real question remains: does this mean that change is always a good thing?
I think the answer to this can vary based on the situation. Granted, change has certain benefits, but it also has its drawbacks.
Change gets you to leave your comfort zone and opens you to new experiences. You are able to receive opportunities to take part in previously unimaginable tasks; you get to do things you may have never even considered yourself capable of. Change builds character; it enhances perseverance, willpower, and emotional strength. We all know the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Being able to adapt and overcome change makes us more resilient individuals with better rounded personalities.
For example when I moved from Delhi to Dhaka it was extremely difficult. I’d gone from having the same friends and growing up in the same city to an unknown country with an unpredictable future. Yes, at first I resisted and I struggled. Letting go of the past that I held so close to my heart was hard. But I learned so much. I learned how to talk to people from all parts of the world, how to embrace my own company, how to be self-sufficient and independent while being friendly and social. I think the entire experience made me a lot more confident and open-minded than before. It also equipped me to deal with change better and more efficiently in the future. My move after Dhaka was a lot easier than my move to Dhaka.
However change can also take a toll on your emotional well-being. While you’re going through it and before you get used to it, there is a stage I call “loss”. You’ve lost your rhythm. You’ve lost your sense of comfort. But most importantly you’re at a loss as to what to do. There is no constant in your life and you wonder whether you’ll ever get used to the change that has been thrown at you (or the change that you chose for yourself). Blame will be placed. Regret will surface. Anything that reminds you of how life used to be will be glorified because us humans have selective memory: we choose only to remember the best of the past.
In conclusion change can have profound impacts on you. It can improve you and build your resilience. But it doesn’t give without taking away. In order to progress you must sacrifice the comfort of the present to reap the benefits of the future. You will undoubtably experience “loss” and there will be days of indecision. But whether change is good and beneficial depends only on how you handle it.