Dan Melchior
Advisor - Author - Speaker - Poet


Practicing Change: Why Change is Difficult

Why is it we all find change to be so difficult?  Why do we stick like a burnt pancake to our comfort zone?  Why do organizations struggle so much with change?  The answer is really very simple, we don’t practice change.  Practice makes perfect remember.  Or as basketball coaches used to remind us, perfect practice makes perfect.  I’m not so sure about their take on perfect practice but you get the idea.  We simply do not practice changing our routines, our preferences, our likes.  So I’m suggesting that we start practicing change.

We still start by using our weaker hand. The concept is really simple, if you are right handed, start completing simple tasks with your left hand.  While your initial inclination might be to try eating with your opposite hand, start with a task that might be a little bit easier.  For example, start drinking with your opposite hand.  This is easier than eating with your opposite hand and will be less awkward, especially if you are trying this in the company of others.  We don’t practice change because it is uncomfortable and so is dropping food on your lap which will inevitably lead you back to your comfort zone after, of course, a trip to the drycleaners.

Another great task to start completing with your opposite hand is controlling your computer mouse.  Not only is this a form of change that will help get you comfortable with other forms of change, it can be very helpful in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.  In case you are not aware, you are able to switch the buttons on the mouse, so that the left and right buttons switch functions.  Use the mouse settings to make these changes.  If you use a tablet with a touch screen you can also use your opposite hand to initiate commands.  You can also do this with your smart phone, however, I’d pay particular attention when sending out Tweets!  If you are using a mouse, it is best to switch the buttons so that the same fingers on either hand are initiating the same controls on the computer.  In the beginning, you will be less productive when switching hands, but generally within a week or so you should be at the same level of capability with your opposite hand.  Personally, I use a left mouse for my work computer and a right mouse on my home computer so that I continue to be comfortable with either hand.  Other tasks you can complete with the opposite hand include, combing your hair (does not apply to me), brushing your teeth, holding the steering wheel, opening doors, shining shoes etc.  Be creative and you will be amazed how fast you are able to adapt with your opposite hand.

I know this seems extremely simple and somewhat silly but over the next few weeks I will continue to introduce new ideas for practicing change.  Once you see how quickly you can overcome being uncomfortable you will start to seek out more and more ways to practice change.  Now I’m going to practice making pancakes.

Dan Melchior