Why do people fear change?

By | June 21, 2014
Why people fear change

People fear change

As many of us may have realized, whether it’s at work or at home, people generally don’t like to change something. Why do people resist change? They might think that the current way is the only way and that changing something might leave them worse off. Here are a few reasons why people fear change – I’ve also added some motivational factors to these reasons, to perhaps help others get over their ‘change-fears’.

The Unknown

This is somewhat of a no-brainer! Why would you do something when you don’t know what the outcome will be, right? Well, although this is something quite natural and normal (to an extent), why should this stop you from achieving your goals or even better yet, why should this stop you from being motivated? After all, if the unknown was such a daunting thought, would we have electricity and cars and the telephone? No.

The unknown also comes with the thought of possible loss, which stirs up emotions of uncertainty and insecurity. Again, although these thoughts and feelings are quite normal, they shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals and being motivated. The unknown will always remain unknown, unless you do something about it – make it known!

Possible Loss

The thought of a possible loss may be a huge factor for some people and may stop some people dead in their tracks – “It’s not worth risking”. I agree that in some instances the risk is simply too high. This may be because of a lack of knowledge or skills or whatever. Although, one has to sometimes think back to the old saying “One step back, two steps forward”. Loss is not necessarily a bad thing and doesn’t always happen.

People are afraid that the change may mean they will lose their job, friends, influence, prestige, place in the group, or anything else they value. I believe that the feeling of the potential loss may sometimes override the legitimate facts and cloud one’s thinking, which automatically demotivates one. How certain is the loss?


Lets face it, everyone likes to be comfortable! Any slight discomfort may motivate people to do something about the situation to get back into their comfort-zone. Although, even the thought of discomfort makes people resist change. The change implies that people have to move out of their comfort zones. Most people would prefer to remain comfortable. Change also means learning and implementing something new. This can cause much discomfort.

People will generally feel threatened by change and when they feel threatened, they will resist.

These fears can be precluded by giving people all the information on how the change will effect them personally: their tasks, workload, or responsibilities and most importantly, their job security. Showing people clearly how the change will benefit them, will prevent them from being negative about the change. After all, one should always look the bright side – be positive about the change and see the benefit for yourself.

When it comes to your self motivation, these fears of changes should not stop you. Focus on and remind yourself about the positive aspects of the change. If you constantly focus on and think of the negative feelings, those emotions may get the better of you and will escalate. The negative feelings fester within.

Instead, remind yourself of what you are doing and why.
Accept discomfort when it comes with the territory.

Make the unknown, known!

What are the reasons for you resisting change? Is it one of the reasons mentioned above?
Share your comments below.

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