How many times a day do you get asked to make changes–either in work you’ve submitted, in your schedule, or in yourself–or ask someone to change for you?
Sometimes complying is a no-brainer. Sure, Friend X, I can meet you at 7 instead of 6:30. Yes, Editor Y, I’m happy to go from dual first person point of view to third since you’ve said you’ll take another look if I do (though of course I wouldn’t have written it that way if I didn’t like it). Ok, Agent Z, I can make it to an audition two hours from now.
Other times, you may not be sure if you want to make the change. I’ve heard of aspiring authors who simply ignore revision letters. They’re insulted that anyone wants them to change a single word. They don’t want to realize that industry professionals don’t take the time to request revisions if they aren’t really interested. But how far are you willing to go? If you refuse a particular adjustment, can you come up with a good, well-motivated reason why?
And other times, you may not know how to change/be different. I once took a bite and smile class, where you’re taught how to eat food and react in a timely and pleasant manner for commercial auditions. A classmate said he had to eat a potato chip, which he did. Then the director asked to see something else, and the actor was stymied by what do to. We learned to come up with 10 different ways to eat something. (I’ve booked one b&s commercial…for the audition we had to eat a Nilla wafer after putting down our fake fishing poles and taking off hats they gave us. Very challenging to quickly bite into without looking like you’re chomping or merely nibbling, and not easy to keep crumbs off your lipgloss, here.)
What if the requested or suggested change is something personal, about the way you dress or behave? Maybe you get another opinion or two before you agree. Maybe it’s something you’re willing to try once, like wearing more or less makeup. You might feel the suggestor is trying to control/manipulate you or turn you into someone you don’t want to be. Or you might not realize you do need to change and are just being stubborn or worried you’ll make a mistake. You might want to make changes in, say, your career or relationship, but are afraid to take the first steps…the devil you know…
If you’re thinking of making a change, here are some interesting thoughts:
Managing Change, About.com
Resistance to Change, Schuler Solutions
Change Quotes, Quote Garden