Are you contemplating making a change in your life? The thing about change is that often we both want it and don’t want it. There’s always some sacrifice involved in cutting ourselves loose from whatever it is we would like to be different. The cost of staying where we are has to outweigh the price of freedom.

There’s something in us that clings to the safe and familiar despite the longing for novelty and change. These two opposing tendencies put us into conflict with ourselves. We ask: is the risk worth it? Depending on our temperament we opt more for one side than the other. Sometimes we have to cultivate the one we’re less prone to indulge.

An over-reliance on safety, while providing stability, can be deadening. Predictability can lead to stale routines and a feeling of being on automatic pilot. It’s like living with a browser that never refreshes and updates what’s on the screen. After awhile that gets boring and frustrating and there’s a sense of being stuck.

On the other hand, risk-taking is, well, scary. We don’t know what’s going to happen and while that can be exciting, it’s also stressful. We have to be able to tolerate the uncomfortable sensations of moving between our hopes and fears as we anticipate the outcome of our decision. At the far extreme, some people get addicted to the adrenalin of this type stress and anxiety.

When contemplating making a change in your life, it helps to identify your habitual tendency. Do you dig in your heels and resist change, agonizing over decisions before taking action? Maybe you’ve missed the boat at times because you lingered too long on the shore of doubt. Or are you the type who leaps before you look, getting off on the thrill of hurtling through the air? Perhaps you’ve taken a few nasty tumbles along the way.

Some people need a lot of encouragement and support to take risk and others need help listening to the inner voice of caution. The dynamic tension between stability and change creates equilibrium. Knowing where you are on the scale can help to determine which way to tip the balance.

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