Why is it so Difficult to Adapt to Change in Business?

By Ajax Oliver

January 8, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

The great industrialist Henry Ford once said “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” For all intents and purposes, he may or may not have been referring to the concept of change and the importance of it. However, one thing that we do know is that as a business leader and individual, change is vital for development and growth. Without it, there is a chance that you will not be able to maximize your performance and optimize your productivity.

When you don’t like something about your business or your life, then you owe it to yourself to make changes in those areas. Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. For some companies and individuals, change can be extremely challenging, difficult, and frustrating. However, it can also be engrossing, inspiring, and rewarding. Whether it means building your self-confidence or improving your performance on the job, making changes is oftentimes one of the most difficult yet highly rewarding things that you will ever do in your life.

What makes Personal Change so Difficult?

In order to understand why change is difficult for some individuals, it’s important to know the four obstacles that prevent most people from doing so. Consider the following obstacles.

First and foremost, we bring the good things we experienced in childhood into adulthood – however, we also bring those bad things or the “baggage” with us as well. This includes:

fear of failure
low self-esteem
need for control
the need to please

These elements cause us to behave, feel, and think based on the persons we were in our childhood years. It is this baggage that causes us to be defensive and react to the world around us in similar fashion. Suffice it to say, this sabotages our attempts at achieving success.

Secondly, we are like the athlete that exercises improperly or practices bad techniques – those deeply ingrained thoughts influence our behavioral and emotional experiences. Since you have always reacted in this manner, you react to your environment in much the same way. Consequently, your habits cause knee-jerk reactions that are neither adaptive nor healthy.

Third, we make no effort to change because of negative experiences – when we experience anger, fear, frustration, or sadness, we are reluctant to make changes in our lives. For instance, the fear of failure prevents us from making certain necessary changes. So since we’ve been getting by, we feel that the risk isn’t worth it.

Finally, in order to manage our baggage, emotions, and habits, we create a world that enables us to do so – in order to gain a sense of comfort and security, we surround ourselves with certain activities and people. Unfortunately, the environment we create may discourage change rather than support it.

Basically, all four of the above obstacles are self-defeating in nature and have the same effect of sabotaging our actions and behavior. Consequently, you feel frustrated, helpless, and stuck when it comes to achieving your goals and performing up to your abilities.

Change in Business

In the world of business, change can be extremely costly, no matter what form it takes. In order to adapt, it will involve a great deal of effort, money, and time. Assuming that some individuals will act rationally, they will resist change. The amount of resistance that a person exhibits depends on their analysis of the cost/benefit outcome of the proposed changes. You can draw two conclusions based on an individual’s amenability to making those changes:

1) An individual is likely to be more amenable when the expected benefit is greater than what they are currently experiencing. However, the benefit could be decreased or undermined based on how certain or uncertain you are of the anticipated benefits.

2) The less likely the individual will be to adapt to those changes if a higher cost of making them is involved.

Despite what the overpaid motivational speaker and the overly costly self-help books tell you, change in any form is still going to be difficult for many businesses or individuals. Sorry to inform you, but change simply doesn’t work the way these so-called “experts” claim that it does. Because of those years of accumulated years of baggage, emotions, environments, and habits, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

Factors that enable You to build the Foundation of Change

If you can start overcoming those obstacles mentioned above, you’ve taken a giant step in the right direction. But your first task is building the foundation of change and that involves the following three factors:


– this may be the single most essential factor of the three we have listed here. Making changes involves a certain element of risk and that scares many people into believing that they will ultimately fail in their endeavors. Conversely, it is risk that often leads us to success. However, having the courage to take those risks and make changes enables us to discover certain that you didn’t know existed and that you may not like. Yet it will enable you to confront those bad emotions or thoughts so that you can reject them and develop an outline of where you want to go in your life.


– interestingly enough, our emotions can be as much of a powerful impetus for change as they are an obstacle to it. Whether your emotions are negative (e.g. fear of losing one’s job) or positive in nature such as hope, inspiration, and/or pride, they can be extremely powerful motivators for making changes in our lives or in business.


– because of the difficulty involved with making changes and adapting to them, there has to be a deep and personal element inside of you that you can draw from. In most cases, it starts with a powerful yet simple epiphany. For instance, you need to be able to tell yourself that you cannot continue traveling down the same path that you have been on. When you come to this realization, you have taken the first big step towards making and adapting to personal changes.

Ajax Oliver

Ajax went on an epic journey of personal discovery around the world. Read:How to Travel The World On Any Budget

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