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Radical or incremental change?

People, in their human nature, tend to find stability. In biology, this is referred to as the term “Homeostasis”. Homeostasis is the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between the interdependent elements especially as maintained by a physiological processes.

By Diana Mahmoud
In that perspective change is always perceived by our physiological system as a threat. For example, when ones blood pressure level drops too low, the heart rate speeds up to push your blood pressure back to the normal level. This system employs different feedback loops to maintain all its organs’ jobs balanced and at a stable equilibrium.

Just like this system, there are many factors and feedback loops that control our habits’ equilibrium, which explains why we tend to fall into “comfort zones”. 

Our daily routines, or habit patterns as I like to call them, are managed by this particular balance between your potential, your psychological state, your genetic nature, your environment, and many other aspects or forces. This equilibrium becomes a recurring daily mechanism that gradually becomes unnoticeable, invisible.

All these factors are interacting and communicating every single day on this subtle frequency, so that we don’t notice how much of a great influence they are on our behaviors, further, they are shaping our behaviors. 

When we speak of change, we tend to go with the flow of our culture, where the paradox of radical change is pervasive. They tell us things like “massive change, requires massive actions” or things that imply setting high goals and making big steps.

What we fail to realize is that any attempt for rapid change or growth will go against this stabilized mechanism, those rhythmic frequencies of equilibrium that our system is maintaining. Disturbing this stability will stimulate the whole system to get back to normal again, back to the happy calm state of equilibrium.

The faster we try to change, the greater the backslide is likely to be. Because these interacting life forces that have governed our equilibrium, will gather efforts and work on getting you back to the old lifestyle, or the comfy state. 

Change is certainly possible, but it is only sustainable when taking fair steps and focusing on optimal growth, not the fastest growth. The optimal rate of growth is not the fastest possible. Taking big steps of massive changes in a company, for example, will act as the rapidly spreading cancer in the body; it will force other tissues and organs to compensate, therefore, being drained and lead to a system failure.

Learn to be patient, persistent and accumulate small wins each day. Those light doses of change when injected into the system at a subtle rate, will nudge all this harmony and equilibrium to an upper level, without shaking the whole foundations and triggering the survival, stable instinct mode of the body-brain bond. 

Diana Mahmoud is a life coach an freelance columnist. She has more than 7 years of experience in NGOs, private sector entrepreneurship, and educational management.

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