Change as a Crisis





Too Slow, Too Fast, Just Right

When confronting change there are three possibilities. The rate of change may be too slow, too fast, or just right. If change is too slow you may find yourself bored with a lack of motivation and drive. When change is too fast you risk Future Shock or burnout. Finding and managing the just right - optimal - level of change puts you at the cutting edge of motivation, creativity, and choice. In the whirlwind of change finding that cutting edge of creativity can be difficult. In the midst of a whirlwind when a new change blows into your life it may appear as a crisis. Danger is seen everywhere and your guard goes up. In such a situation knowing that a crisis can be more than danger is helpful.

Change as Crisis                        

The Chinese ideogram for crisis is composed of two separate characters: one means danger and the other means opportunity. The proper translation is that a crisis is a dangerous opportunity. When confronted with a crisis you need to recognize both the danger and the opportunity. Often the danger is more readily seen and the opportunity can be well hidden.   Be sure to look for the opportunity as well as the danger.


In examining your reactions to change you will find that you have a pattern of response. You are primarily either a danger or an opportunity person and habitually respond in one way or the other. (Take the Danger/Opportunity Survey to determine your usual style.) Knowing your pattern can sensitize you to your typical reaction so you can control it rather than be controlled by it. Psychological reality is that you most likely have different reactions in different settings. At work you may always see danger while at home change usually signals opportunity. Knowing your style is useful information. Once you know your style then you can intentionally open yourself to both possibilities.

All of us are by nature danger people. The human condition predisposes us to it. Evolutionary history dictates that when something new enters the environment we scan it for threat. Survival of the species depends upon recognizing and avoiding danger. If you are an opportunity person then you have worked hard at intentionally opening yourself to look for the positive. Being an opportunity person is a choice. It is a choice that enhances your ability to confront change. Confronting change is also made less of a crisis when there is some understanding of the cycle of change and how it works.

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