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An Operator's Manual for Successful Living
by Nicholas R.M. Martin ©1988



INTRODUCTION When presented with the potential for meaningful change, some people feel an immediate sense of reluctance or resistance. It's as if they have a certain inertia working to keep things just as they are. Often they will acknowledge this resistance as a fear of making changes, and the question arises, "How do I overcome my own fear of change?" The same principles that apply to fears of all kinds shed light on this fear as well.


1) Fear calls our attention to a possible threat.

2) It reflects mental responses which may or may not be valid.

3) It is usually handled through automatic avoidance.

4) It may hinder us from growth and gains if we let it.


1) IDENTIFY THE POSSIBLE THREAT- what's the worst that could happen? What negative expectations or pictures are  you holding?

2) REEVLUATE THOSE MENTAL RESPONSES in the light of your own highest vision.

3) MASTER YOUR FEAR with the techniques described on page 65.

EXAMPLE Bill has always been shy and alone. He seeks counseling so that he can feel better and develop confidence. He is instructed in techniques that will help him, but he comes back week after week with excuses as to why he didn't find time for the methods offered. When confronted with his negligence, he acknowledges his fears of making changes; he worries about the expectations others would have of him if he were confident and self-assured, and he fears to go out on dates, which he believes he must do if he overcomes his shyness. He knows what he's had, however uncomfortable, but he doesn't know what he'll be getting, and he's afraid to make changes because he sees only stress.

ANALOGY Consider the hermit crab, who relies on his shell for safety. He does not create his own shell, but takes over the empty shells left by other creatures who do. When he has outgrown the shell he has taken, he cautiously moves out and looks for one that fits him better. It is during this time of transition that he must wander defenseless, and if he feels naked and vulnerable, well in many ways he is.

NOTES There are similarities between the hermit crab and the person going through periods of change. Both may feel naked and vulnerable, both have given up a comfortable "place," and both may feel an apprehension about the future. But there are significant differences, too. If you have a fear of change: 1) it's not likely to cost you your life; 2) you always have the choice to undo it if you don't like what you get; and 3) until you try it, you have no way of seeing the good that may come from it.

Once faced and acknowledged, the resistance usually dissolves. When we can "own" that part of ourselves that refuses to budge and honestly evaluate the cost of that choice, we usually resolve to move forward again. In order to gain, something else has to go. Even the hermit crab ventures forth into the unknown, and surely we have the courage of a crab!

REFERENCES Progression/Reversal (see page 7), Cultural Myth #14 (26), The Issue of Trust (59), Freedom from Fear (64)

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