Try Something New

Try Something New – introduction

Does the thought of doing a new thing scare you? Are you too comfortable with how things are?

A few days ago I would have answered “no” to all these questions. I tend to see myself as a risk-taker and someone who is always looking for something new to try out and willing to embrace change.

That was until a simple visit to a supermarket changed my perception about my ability to accept change. I noticed, as I went through the isles picking the items that were on my shopping list, that I was looking for the same things I had always bought month after month. In-fact I hardly considered buying anything else. If I had to buy tea then it had to be brand x and not y because that is what I had always bought.

Once this occurred to me I started thinking about other similar things that I might have been doing. For instance I realised every visit to the barber was to get the same haircut I had last month, and the month before that. Then there was the “Bronx” shoe that I always bought whenever I needed a pair of shoes. How about wearing the same deodorant year after year? Or buying the same magazine month after month? Then there’s eating the same food whenever you go out?

I stopped my trolley. I don’t know for how long. I stared directly in front of me. I was stunned at how routine, unexciting and predictable things had become. In an effort to reverse this whole trend I turned around and put back many of the items I had put in the trolley and exchanged them for different brands.

Try Something New - the dangers of habit

I thought to myself how such habits of always wanting the familiar and seemingly secure could be affecting other areas of my life. It could be my marriage, work, business or anything else. The shopping habits probably just offered a glimpse of what could be happening elsewhere.

I thought how many businesses have gone bankrupt because they were unwilling to change and adapt to new technology or new innovations in their industry. Countless. How many marriages have ended in frustration because one or both spouses became so boring and predictable that all the romance and fun was sucked out of the marriage? Countless. How many workers have been made redundant by an inability to get new skills and knowledge? Countless.

Try Something New - the snare of the familiar

The fact is that in sticking to the familiar we give up on the infinite possibilities and outcomes of any circumstance or opportunity. “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Those are John F. Kennedy’s words of wisdom on change.

It is a necessity for anyone that desires to grow and achieve something worthwhile in life. That is why it is so important to critically examine ourselves, our habits and our perceptions so that we do not get stuck in time and live out the same things over and over again year after year. Where is the meaning and joy in life if every day is just like the one before it?

Try Something New – why we resist change

I started to examine the reasons why people do not change. Alan Cohen said “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” In making this statement he addresses one of the things that cause us not to change, namely, a lack of courage.

The second reason is that, as James Belasco and Ralph Stayer say in Fight of the Buffalo, “people overestimate the value of what they have - and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up." It is human nature to feel that the present or the past is better, but that is only because we have already seen it. What we have not seen always seems more unsettling. Which brings me to a very important point: How you see yourself in future has a huge bearing on how much you are willing to change.

If you have a clear vision of where you want to be and what you want to achieve you will be more willing and able to change. This is because with this vision you will know what change is necessary in order for you to reach your intended destination. As Charles Dubois put it, “The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

The third reason people don’t change is that nobody challenges them to. Certainly not their neighbour who doesn’t need the competition and not the friend who is only too happy to have drinking buddy every evening. Society generally does not like dreamers like you. You think you are different and that you are better than the rest of them!

They would like nothing better than to prove you wrong. So you must take full responsibility for your own life. Don’t wait for anybody else to challenge you. Challenge yourself.

”Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” That was Tolstoy’s very true observation. Any change you want to see in your world must start with change in you.

Try Something New – start from within

Michael Jackson said to start with “the man in the mirror” and “make that change.” That means you. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in today that you are not happy or satisfied with, you can change. Just make the choice. Jim Rohn, one of my favourite motivational speakers, put it so eloquently: “Any day we wish; we can discipline ourselves to change it all. Any day we wish; we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish; we can start a new activity. Any day we wish; we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year.”

Try Something New – conclusion

The decision is yours. Just remember that everyday you do not change is another day you kill the person you could become. Time does not change things. We do.

You are all you can be. Go on and be it.



Some weeks after writing this article I came across a lovely site on how to welcome and tackle change and how to "Never Let Your Doubts Obscure Your Dreams." It's soothing, motivational and offers encouragement to help you change through the wonderful visuals presented. I am sure those of you struggling with change will find it helpful.


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