In this article, I talk about making change happen. I think this discussion may generally apply to a variety of changes.
If you want something different in your life, I think you have two options. First, you can wait for the change you want to happen. You simply sit, trusting that the desired change will knock on your door. This type of change is by chance–it will happen without an apparent cause. Based on their research, Albert Ellis and Robert Harper (1997), psychotherapists, refer to this type of change as “the easy way out” (p. 177). People taking this route achieve few major accomplishments.
This option seems to be prevalent in the “Microwave Mentality”–a metaphor that represents an era in which people believe that things will happen quickly and easily. In the microwave age, one who desires change is responsible for doing very little. To describe the possibility of this option resulting in the change you desire, I turn to a quote by Wayne Campbell, protagonist in the movie, Wayne’s World. Commenting on the likelihood that he will earn a living from the TV show he broadcasts from his parents’ basement, Wayne said, “Yeah! Right!”
A second option you have is to work toward the change you desire. One who does this type of change must develop a plan and work toward completing the plan. In this context, change is not by chance. In other words, something will precede the desired change. Outsiders who observe someone accomplishing their goals may describe such a person as lucky. Gary Player, professional golfer, answered a question about his luck in consistently sinking difficult putts by saying, “The harder I practice, the luckier I get”. (some dispute whether Gary player made this statement, yet I think it nicely illustrates my point).
When you make a plan for change and actively set out to accomplish it, it may not occur. Nevertheless, trying to accomplish something and failing has benefits: One is likely to learn something, for example what not to do (Ellis & Harper, 1997). As one continues trying, one can use what one has learned to work more effectively. NB: If making change happen is new for you, you might benefit from setting some sub-goals to help you gain confidence toward achieving your ultimate goal (Ellis & Harper, 1997; Stress Management, n.d.)
Some people may not desire change, but if you want change to happen, you are more likely to achieve it by developing a plan and implementing that plan. Change may knock, but the door upon which it is more likely to knock is “preparation and effort.”