Why Do People Resist Change Even When It’s Good?


In this episode of Top Secrets Revealed on Managing Change, we’re going to answer a question that a lot of people find themselves asking from time to time. Why do people resist change even when it’s good?

It’s a common question. Everybody asks this, especially when it relates to something positive. “Hey, I just got a great new job! I’m buying a new house! This is supposed to be a positive thing! Why am I so stressed out?”

The Unknown of Change

Well the answer is because you’re still dealing with an unknown. You’re still walking into a situation of uncertainty. Even when the change is positive, even when it’s an improvement or it’s better, there’s still some stress around it.

Now, there’s some science behind this, so this is the part where it might sound a little “sciencey,” so put on your nerd glasses if you got ‘em. These are mine.

Do I still look all right? I look all right, right? Yeah. Ok.

The Science of Change

Whenever we’re faced with an unknown, the sympathetic part of our autonomic nervous system kicks in. The sympathetic nervous system is what prepares the body for stressful or emergency situations. Commonly known as fight or flight.

By the way, daily feelings of fight or flight are the essential component of every good relationship.

Ok you can remove your nerd glasses now. I’m going to take off mine casually and stylishly.

“Quite revealing!”

So when faced with the unknown, we start to feel anxious, we start to feel nervous. It’s part of our automatic response to something different. Even when the change is positive, even when it’s good, we still feel nervous about it, because there’s still that fear of the unknown.

So if you ever find yourself asking, hey, this is a good thing, why am I resisting it? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You’re just human.

I’m Tim O’Shea, The Agent of Change. Thanks for watching Top Secrets Revealed.