“Nobody likes change.” - Ross Gellar, Friends, Episode 3, Season 16
Ross was right; nobody likes change. As a result, most of us spend a lot of time resisting it.
We wish it wasn’t happening, spend time complaining about how things were better before or will be worse after the change, or actively do things to prevent the change from happening.
The problem is that change is, in fact, inevitable. Resisting change is generally a waste of time and energy. If we want to lower our stress, improve our productivity, and actually move forward when things change, we’ll need to shift from resistance to acceptance (and even “embracement” - is that even a word? If not, it is now…).
One of the simplest and most effective ways to embrace change is to simply shift our mindset, approach, and language from “yes, but” to “yes and.”
"Yes, and" is a powerful phrase that helps people navigate change and fosters innovation. The concept comes from the world of improv comedy, where it is used to build on the ideas of others and create a collaborative and dynamic scene.
It's important to note here that saying "yes, and" doesn't mean blindly agreeing with everything. Rather, it's about acknowledging and accepting the current reality, and then building on it.
“Yes, but” is a response of resistance; when we say “yes, but” to change, we remain stuck in that mode of resistance. When we switch to “yes, and” we automatically move to acceptance.
Saying “yes, and” helps us find the opportunities in change via a few methods:
- "Yes, and" helps to shift our mindset from resistance to acceptance, thereby encouraging us to see the opportunities and possibilities in a change rather than focusing on the negative aspects.
- "Yes, and" promotes open communication and collaboration, which can help us navigate change more smoothly by involving others and learning from their perspectives.
- “Yes, and" both forces us to be creative and also opens us up to our true creative power. This helps us come up with new and efficient ways of dealing with changes, and potentially turn them into opportunities.
For a final thought on embracing change, I turn again to Ross from friends, discussing baby names with his ex-wife, Carol, and her new partner, Susan:
Ross: (suggesting a baby name) What about Julia?
Susan: We agreed on Minnie.
Ross: It's funny; we (gesturing to Carol) agreed we'd spend the rest of our lives together. Things change, roll with the punches!
The next time you are faced with a change, remember to say “yes, and” to roll with the punches and stay ahead of the curve in today's ever-changing world.