By Toby Moore
For Capital Region Independent Media
Many of us have an innate discomfort with change.
Humans crave predictability — from the consistent taste of our favorite drive-thru burger to the measurable calories burned in our workout routine.
This desire for standardized outcomes is natural; once we find something that works, we naturally gravitate toward replicating it. This repetition leads us into a comfortable routine, fostering a predictable pattern of thoughts and emotions. This predictability makes us feel as if we are eradicating many of life’s uncertainties, wrapping us in a comforting blanket of stability.
The routines are good. Plenty of information indicates they are good for you. Still, even in a routine, we often desire to accomplish more and do something different and extraordinary.
My favorite author, Joe Dispenza, says, “Routines lull us to sleep… becoming the person we aspire to be requires that you stop being the old self.”
What does that mean?
Sure, we may like change when it comes to trying a new food, reading a new book or watching a new show on TV. But how often do we like change when it causes uncertainty? If you’re like most people, the answer is never.
Certainty is comfortable, and over time, it becomes familiar. We can become so familiar with something that deviating from the norm feels unnatural and uncomfortable.
Take an angry person, for example. They always have a dark cloud over their head and typically respond to most circumstances angrily. Why is that? Over time, they’ve become so comfortable with their anger, and it becomes so familiar, that any other emotion feels foreign and unsettling.
Indeed, emotional habits can feel like a constant, but life rarely adheres to the scripts we write for it. Whether it’s the loss of a job, the death of someone close, or an abrupt move to an unfamiliar city, life’s curveballs have a way of upending our emotional equilibrium. The immediate reaction is often one of discomfort and fear.
Questions flood our minds: How will I manage my finances? Will I ever find a loving relationship again? Can I adapt to this new place? This juncture is our encounter with the unknown, the point where we’re forced to navigate the murky waters of uncertainty.
Uncertainty has its transformative magic. To take advantage of this magic, you must step out of the known and venture into new territory: the unknown.
Dispenza says, “After all, if you focus on the known, you get the known. If you focus on the unknown, you create a possibility… the longer you invest your energy into the unknown, the more you are going to create a new experience or new possibilities in your life.”
Far from being an unwelcome intruder, change can act as a catalyst, compelling us to break free from the mundane and the familiar.
In those moments when the rug is pulled out from under us, we’re not just thrown into disarray but also presented with an invaluable opportunity for growth, exploration and possibility.
When we adapt to new circumstances, explore new skills, or cultivate new ways of thinking, we’re presented with something greater than simply adjusting. We’re changing our reality. How? By changing our personality.
Dispenza says, “Your personality creates your personal reality, and your personality is made up of how you think, act, and feel…most people try to create a new reality as the same personality, and it doesn’t work, you literally have to become someone else. The process of change requires breaking the habit of the old self and becoming a new self.”
Uncertainty propels us to think differently, and only when we begin to think and feel differently can we become that new self.
When unsure what to expect, our minds explore uncharted territory, conceiving new ideas, solutions, feelings and emotions that we might not have considered otherwise.
In this light, uncertainty isn’t our enemy but rather an untapped potential reservoir. In the tension between the familiar and the unknown, we discover who we are and who we can become.
So, the next time life throws you a curveball, don’t just brace for impact — embrace it.
As Dispenza puts it, “The best way to predict your future is to create it not from the known, but from the unknown.”
Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.