People aren’t afraid of change, they’re afraid of loss

In thinking and talking about change, I (and many others) have always focused on the positives — what change could bring about and enable. I and others spoke about the importance of educational risk-taking, even when those efforts were not a success. I and others made the case repeatedly that deciding to not change was an action in itself — namely choosing to stay put or in fact, fall behind.

What the quoted statement suggests that this focus on the positives of change is flawed; instead of encouraging change for its own sake and the sake of the institutions served by change, we need to focus on the trade-offs. If change is actually about loss, we need to address loss and how to make loss more acceptable.

As psychiatrists and psychologists know, loss and separation (including death) are among the most difficult emotional issues for individuals to handle.