Humans need diversity, so why are we so afraid of change?
When I speak of diversity, I'm not talking about quotas, gender equality or parity in the boardroom - although I may get to that - but to start off this conversation, I'm talking about the simple human need for diversity and difference in everyday life.
Imagine if you ate the exact same thing for lunch everyday. It would get boring pretty quickly I would think. Same goes for the clothes we wear, the places we live and the jobs we work. We need variety in our lives to keep us challenged, motivated and happy.
So why is change so often feared?
Moving countries, taking a new job, having your first baby, or taking a career break can all be scary changes that make us want to stick to the familiar and stay inside our comfort zones. These changes can be big and potentially life altering so it is normal to feel apprehensive when faced with them.
The key is to not let that fear take control and embrace the diversity of experience these new situations will give you.
Fear of change is often equated with the fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown comes in many guises but can easily be seen when talking about diversity quotas.
Studies on diversity show that human beings unconsciously gravitate towards people who look, communicate and think the same way as them. Here, fear of the unknown is inhibiting diversity of thought, perspectives and experience by surrounding oneself with those who are similar. In turn, this limits opinions, creativity, innovation and adaptability, ingredients which are essential in todays global workplace.
Human beings are naturally meant to grow, change, adapt and evolve all the while navigating this highly diverse and beautiful world we were born into. We live in a world of polar opposites, of diversity and difference, light and dark, sorrow and joy. And we use this diversity to understand the world around us.
So while change may be scary and true diversity still a challenge in some industries, both are essential for living full, meaningful lives.
Which makes me think, there is some wisdom in the age old saying:
Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.