Change sucks, and I need it.

Today I'd like to talk about change, and about how my love of change is tied to an inverted U curve in my life. Here's the curve:

Inverted U curves are difficult to understand, a little bit. Why? Because as an American (I'm not sure that this is something that all the people everywhere think) don't naturally believe in them. Here's an example of how most of us think:

It's an inverted U curve:

Some of it is good; too much is bad. 

It's like the lady my wife may or may not have known who went on a gummy bear diet becuase they were low calorie.

Bad idea. Bad, bad idea.

Anyway, when a major change happens in my life, I start out at the low part of the curve, which is to say, I'm not super happy, but I'm being challenged and my nail is set at 10 (BE DISTRACTED BY THIS ARTICLE I WROTE ON FOCUS) so I'm doing ok. 

But then as I gain confidence with the new job, project, or challenge, I feel a surge of confidence and happiness

This is a fairly brief period of time, before boredom sets in, and my happiness with the situation plummets.

I mentioned the dial that I'd written about before, and that's the attention and energy that I pay to any given task, so we'll overlay that line over the inverse U curve:


As you can see, when my attention needs to be high at the beginning, and I'm learning new things and mastering them, I'm feeling good, and getting better. But once the new job/project/etc becomes a learned skill - old hat - then my attention and energy to act plummet, and my mood plummets with it.

It's quite a cycle.

And for me, like everyone else, change is stressful, and difficult. I really dislike the process of change, and yet I need regular doses of it. Projects, jobs, and interests need to flow in and out of my life, like a regular heartbeat, to keep me alive and interested.

Because without change, anyone who's watched a hospital drama understands how serious the situation is: