No matter where you live, you’ve probably heard about the Referendum in the UK. On 23 June 2016, Brits will decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. What you might not have realized is that this vote is about YOU too! Whether you live in the US, India, South Africa, Canada, Nigeria, Australia or anywhere else…
The Self-Improvement Guy blog is not a political website. But the current UK political climate is a warning to us all: even if you have no interest in UK politics, read on, because this directly involves your Self-Improvement!
What are they shouting about?
UK politicians in both the Leave and Remain camps are engaged in a war of words, and it’s not pretty. They are highly vocal and their approach is quite destructive (like most politics everywhere these days).
Here’s what they are saying (skip the next two paragraphs if you like…)
The Remain group argue for the security of EU membership: preserving trade deals and retaining power in Europe. They warn that leaving would result in unemployment, loss of trade and a new recession.
The Leave group argue for cost savings (the UK pays a lot into the EU), better control over immigration and removing restrictive EU laws. They warn that staying will result in uncontrolled immigration, erosion of public services, more stringent laws and loss of our country’s identity.
This blog post is not intended to support either position. Instead (and more importantly) it’s to point out – in my opinion – the referendum result is already guaranteed...
Britain WILL stay in the EU
Up to now, UK opinion polls have been fairly evenly divided. Sometimes Remain are ahead; then they change over and Leave take the lead. At the time of writing, the polls are swinging back towards Remain.
Despite the lack of a clear leader, I am confident in predicting that on June 23rd, UK voters will make the choice to REMAIN in the European Union.
But why am I so sure of this result?
Human nature, not politics
The UK joined the European Economic Union in 1973. Since then, Brits have progressively been bound by European laws, traded under EU agreements, travelled more freely within the EU and enjoyed mutual policing and justice arrangements with countries in Europe.
You would have to be around 55 years old or more to remember clearly what life was like before joining Europe. For all younger Brits like me (just), membership of the EU is what we have always known.
Political arguments aside, Britain will choose to Remain in the EU because of one simple fact:
Human beings resist change.
Do any of these sound like you?
- My coffee order is always the same; I haven’t tried most of the others
- In a restaurant I usually stick to my usual choices; I rarely try new foods
- When I shop for clothes I know what styles I am looking for
- I’ve attended the same church for over 15 years
- I have been on vacation to the same place several times
- I eat mostly the same breakfast every day
- I read the same newspaper every day
- I generally stick to movies in one genre (romance, sci-fi, thriller, horror)
- I usually buy the same brand of car
- I cook the same meal on the same day each week
- I go out with the same friends almost every time
- I don’t like my job but it pays the bills so I keep going
- I stay in a failing relationship; leaving is too painful or complicated
Apart from the last two points, there’s probably nothing wrong with these choices. But we do tend to stick with what we know.
Fancy a change?
I’m not suggesting you should change everything in your life, and certainly not all at once! But when was the last time you tasted a new food? Have you tried a different church, drink or type of movie recently? Have you checked the employment ads to see if there is a job you might enjoy more?
Overcoming the Fear Of Change is fundamental to Self-Improvement. When you find something you’d like to improve on, it takes courage to start making changes. But improvement always necessitates change: you can’t have one without the other.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not advocating change for its own sake. If something works well for you, then changing it might not be wise. It’s a matter of judgement. But if you never consider change, you risk staying stuck in unhelpful patterns.
It’s not about fixing things that “ain’t broke”. It’s about being honest with yourself: taking time to figure out which elements of your life are “broke” and being brave enough to do something about it. When you take action to fix them, that’s Self-Improvement.
Change happens anyway
No matter how firmly we resist change, sooner or later circumstances change anyway and we are often forced to change with them:
- Relationships end
- Employers downsize or close
- Restaurants close, new ones open
- Newspapers get new editors
- Quiet holiday destinations become more commercialised
- Friends move away or pass away
- Fashions change
We can complain about these changes (pointless) or we can embrace them and move forwards.
On June 23rd, Britain will choose to Remain in the EU because it will succumb to Fear Of Change. (I’ll be voting for Leave even though I know they won’t win.)
Ironically, a vote for “Remain” is also a vote for change. It might not result in the more drastic changes and adjustments that would be required if Britain left the EU. Nonetheless, there will be significant changes: Europe is currently changing at an alarming rate as its leaders press on towards “ever closer union”.
The UK will become constrained by more laws handed down from Brussels. British identity will continue to be eroded as the countries of the EU progressively merge into one huge state. The Australian-style border controls that most Brits would support will never be permitted by the EU: uncontrolled immigration will continue to dilute already-stretched public services.
Nothing will stay the same. The “status quo” chosen by British voters will prove to be just an illusion.
It’s quite sad, really: so many people voting for something they won’t get! But for Britain, the Fear Of Change is simply too much to overcome. Crudely put, most Brits don’t have the balls to step into the unknown.
Why does this matter to YOU?
You probably live outside the UK (over 94% of my readers do) and British politics don’t interest you. But Fear Of Change threatens all of us.
Failing to make changes to your life can keep you stuck in an unhelpful job or relationship. Fear Of Change restricts your sense of adventure and your enjoyment of the richness of life. Most importantly, it can actually stop you from fulfilling your purpose, hopes and dreams.
So what’s the antidote? How do you make sure you have what it takes to make changes, and make the right ones?
Tips for embracing change
There is no instant fix for Fear Of Change, and making the right choices in life is often difficult. Here are some ideas:
- make a comprehensive life-assessment to check you’re not stuck anywhere
- be honest: if Fear Of Change is holding you back, admit it
- habits and routines can be good; consider carefully whether change is needed at all
- if change is required, set a goal and break it into easy steps
- if you’re unsure, talk it over with a trusted friend or relative
- follow your instincts: if your “gut feeling” is resisting change, don’t rush in
- if external circumstances are holding you back, get creative and try to think around them
- if the only thing preventing you changing is fear or nervousness…just do it.
- Take a few minutes to write down all your roles in life: all the titles you hold in relationship with others. For example, mine would include husband / father / son / brother / Christian / friend / teacher / entrepreneur / writer / blogger / etc.
- Consider your responsibilities and activities in each “job”: are you stuck in any unhelpful patterns? Could you fulfil that role better if you were less resistant to change and more creative or adventurous? What specific improvements could you make?
- From this assessment, set some goals and prioritise them.
- Figure out exactly what you need to do next to make progress toward those goals.
- Just do it.
- Share your thoughts and experiences: “Leave a Reply” below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
- …and if you’re a Brit: vote as you wish, but don’t let Fear Of Change colour your judgement! (If you can’t decide, just vote “Leave”…)
To our continued Self-Improvement and success!
The Self-Improvement Guy