The biggest difficulty with discussing change is the vastness of the areas change can encompass. To make this complex topic more manageable, let’s categorize change into one of three levels.
Level 1 change would be the no thought and no choice changes in our lives. One example would be aging. While we might fight to keep our bodies from breaking down, we have no control over the fact that with every passing moment we are aging. Another example of level 1 would be the seasons. Aside from living at the equator, everyone lives in areas where each season is marked with some kind of change. Yes, it is your choice of where you live but you have no say in how the seasons play out, just how you deal with them.
Level 2 changes would be ones where little thought and energy is needed to enact. Some examples would include buying food and putting gasoline in your car. When the cupboards and refrigerator are running low on food you have to change your routine to go to the store and purchase more. Even if part of your regular routine is shopping for food, you still make choices about what food you buy. If you are part of the small percentage of people who always shop at the same time and always buy the same items then this could get elevated to level 3 should some change happen. The same holds true for putting fuel in our cars. Most of us don’t stop by the gas station at the same time on the same day each week; most of us go when our car tells us it is low on fuel.
Level 3 changes are the ones that give us the most grief. These are the ones that require a fair amount of thought to perform and usually more energy. Examples would include learning a new skill, like driving a car for the first time, or trying a shift in our lives, like leaving our job or changing a relationship. These are the ones we dread the most.
When asking the question, “to change or not to change,” it’s the level 3 changes most people want to avoid. We’re okay with level 1 because, well, we have no choice. Level 2 doesn’t bother us much because they’re part of our normal living experience. They can be inconvenient at times, like getting home to find the refrigerator bare and having to go back out for food, but we don’t give them a lot of thought. Level 3’s on the other hand cause us pain, agony, anxiety, and just about every other negative adjective you can bring to mind. They’re also the ones that, once accomplished, can bring us the most happiness, joy, and good fortune imaginable.