Messages from the Masters
That Dance Is Off Limits! by Sheila Murray Bethel, Ph.D.

What dance did you do that shocked your parents? Depending on your age, it might have been slam dancing, break dancing, the lambada, the smurf, or the twist. The current dance craze is always changing because young people through history have proclaimed their uniqueness by trying new things. They are tenacious and highly adept at change because their attitudes haven't yet hardened.

Babies are a great example of tenacity and adaptability. Watch a toddler try something new. It tries and fails and keeps trying until it figures out what works. When they get to school age, children on the playground stretch and explore, eager to extend their boundaries. Today's teens experiment with purple hair and rings worn everywhere but on the fingers, forcing their parents to confront the discomforts of change.

So, why do we get rigid as we get older? Why do we start seeing the status quo as safe and protective, something to be defended instead of challenged? Is it possible to again become more flexible, to recapture that exhilaration we felt on the dance floor and on the playground, that sublime sense that everything is possible? The answer is yes, we can feel excitement about change again.

Think about the kind of changes that make you uneasy, even afraid. What do you actually fear? Losing hard-earned success? Safety? Control? Have you finally figured out how things are and suddenly they're something else? Is your sense of identity in jeopardy? Your answers take you to the next step.

Consider the following tactics for bringing back a childlike (not childish) energy to dealing with the unpleasant changes in your life.

1. Try to get another perspective. Is there someone you can ask for an outside or second opinion? Can you stand on your head, figuratively if not literally, to get a different viewpoint?

2. Check your assumptions. Could they be preventing you from seeing excitement and opportunity amidst the turmoil? Make a list and then challenge them, one by one, with childlike intensity.

3.  Imagine the kind of people who would welcome this particular change. What would excite them? What advantages would they see? How different are they from you? Which of their perceived benefits would and could get you excited too?

Remember the last time you were totally enthusiastic about something. Concentrate on that feeling as you mentally switch to a new image of the change you are facing. Recapture the sense of adventure that was part of your life when you stepped out on the dance floor and let yourself go.

To learn more about Sheila Murray Bethel's audios, books and speaking schedule, visit  © Copyright Bethel Institute 2000

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International