Change Thrivers: Your Resource Guide for Making Change Work by Afsaneh Noori
a personal book review by Anne Ku
There's an old Chinese saying that the only certainty is change. Indeed, in this age of uncertainty, all we CAN expect is more change. I doubt if anyone a century ago would look at his life from the perspective of change, much less the expectation of change. I once observed that we grow up expecting a permanent and certain future to which we can project our wishes and desires. But we realise only too late that it's uncertain and dynamic.
As I work through Afsaneh Noori's 152 page book, I am simultaneously reflecting upon my own life, which I'm hopefully less than half-way through. Her book is all about change and how we recognise and deal with the changes in our lives. She shares her experience through heart-felt stories from home origins in Iran to her new life in the USA. Her book is glittered with quotes of words of wisdom, such as "you must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler," Denis Waitley.
Interestingly, when we most need help is when we least call for help. She asks the reader to examine his/her response patterns to life changes. Resistance to change is normal, as explained by Belasco and Stayer in Flight of the Buffalo (1994):" change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up." Noori gives reasons for resisting change and tips for dealing with personal resistance to change. More importantly, she gives steps to help you overcome personal resistance to change.
Let's see. I don't recall resisting to the changes that were out of my control or understanding. Leaving Brunei when I was a toddler --- what could I do about that? Moving from Taiwan to Okinawa when I was seven --- again, I could only embrace the future for I had no idea I'd learn to speak a new language. Leaving Okinawa after high school --- it was the only way to go. I never considered staying home like a few of my high school friends ---- it was not an option. Adjusting to university life while burning from the pain of homesickness was truly the first real and big change for me. I did not know what it was. I did not know that it was significant. I could not share with anyone that awful feeling of stepping out of my comfort zone. And so I indulged in the only thing that was familiar and brought me comfort --- food. I gained 20 pounds on a diet of pizza and ice cream.
Oh yes --- Afsaneh Noori's "Change Thrivers" could definitely open a new chapter in my Bon Journal. Time and time again, since my freshman year in North Carolina, I've stepped out of my comfort zone and only later did I realise how I coped with it. Is there a pattern to this? Instead of indulging in food, I burned the midnight oil reading self-help books. And now, I review them.
10 January 2007