People who embrace change usually share these 9 unique traits

by Ethan Sterling | February 13, 2024, 6:40 pm

People like to talk about death and taxes. But really, change is the unavoidable law of the universe.

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

The world around you is changing by the second. And you, too, are changing with every breath you take.

So in many ways, the key to a happy, successful, and meaningful life involves learning how to deal with change.

And some people have a head start. Some people seem more able to deal with the change that life inevitably brings because of the way their character and psychology are set up.

But ultimately, learning to cope with change is something we can all do. And often, emulating these unique traits of people who are good with change is the best way to start.

1) Optimism

This first trait is often underrated when it comes to dealing with change. But it can make a huge difference in how a person lives their life.

Change is inevitable. And often, trying to hold onto things the way they’ve always been causes enormous pain and prevents you from moving on with your life.

To really embrace change, you need to have the optimism to believe that things can work out for the best.

Note that optimism doesn’t mean being blind to the suffering and hardship in the world. It doesn’t mean you have to think that everything is great all the time.

But it does mean keeping a positive view of the future. Even if things change for the worse, an optimist understands that they can change again, and this time for the better.

The thing is, optimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Psychological studies demonstrate that an optimistic outlook gives people who have it greater physical and mental well-being and makes them more able to cope with change in life.

Yes, things are always changing. But that can be a good thing. Staying optimistic about the changes life brings is one of the keys to handling those changes in a healthy way. 

2) Flexibility

Naturally, dealing with change means being flexible.

And I don’t mean going to yoga classes.

Instead, I’m talking about cultivating emotional flexibility.

Psychologist Marissa Berman writes that “when a person is psychologically flexible, they will make decisions based on their values and long-standing beliefs rather than the immediate short-term emotions they’re experiencing.”

In other words, instead of just reacting, people with psychological flexibility are able to stay in control and continue to direct their lives even when times change.

This kind of flexibility is key to successfully embracing change.

3) Resilience

Another common trait of people who embrace change is resilience.

People with resilience are able to handle when things go wrong. They are able to endure suffering and hardship because they know that ultimately, everything changes. So if you’re going through a hard time, just hang on. Being resilient will enable you to wait it out until things change again.

Resilience allows people to not only survive hard times, but to embrace them. Often, obstacles can become the things that teach us the most if we know how to embrace the challenges they present.

Cultivating resilience means embracing challenges and knowing that often, it’s the hardest times that have the most to teach you.

4) Curiosity

Staying curious is another great way to embrace the constant change of life.

People who are curious can’t help but be fascinated by a changing world. There’s always something new to learn, and just when you think you have it all figured out, everything changes and you find yourself having to learn everything all over again.

Curiosity propels people to explore every facet of the changes they encounter. So instead of running from change, they embrace it, eager to learn more about it.

5) Responsibility

This one might sound a little strange at first. After all, the world is always changing, and there isn’t a lot you can do about that. So it might sound strange to accept responsibility for changes you can’t control.

But ultimately, we are all responsible for our reactions. We may not be able to control or even predict the ways in which the world will change in our lifetimes. But we can control how we react to it.

People who accept responsibility for their lives also accept responsibility for dealing with change in healthy and productive ways. This sense of responsibility and self-reliance is what enables them to tackle change head-on.

6) Emotional intelligence

This is another highly underrated trait of people who are good at embracing change.

Emotional intelligence is what allows people to understand themselves and their emotional reactions to things very well. That means that people with a high level of emotional intelligence aren’t ruled by their emotions. They still feel their emotions, but they don’t make decisions based on them.

It’s that kind of emotional self-regulation that stops you reacting in an emotional way to change and instead lets you focus on the best possible course of action.

Psychologist Kendra Cherry writes, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, interpret, demonstrate, control, evaluate, and use emotions to communicate with and relate to others effectively and constructively.”

So not only does a high level of emotional intelligence help you control your own emotions. It also allows you to understand and empathize with the emotions of others.

Signs of emotional intelligence include:

  • An ability to understand what other people are feeling
  • Sensitivity to the feelings of others
  • Awareness of your personal strengths and limitations
  • The ability to let go of mistakes
  • Self-confidence

People who embrace change often show these traits, and it’s part of why they are so good at dealing with an ever-changing world.

7) Confidence

Of course, it’s a lot easier to deal with change when you don’t fear it. And part of not fearing change is having confidence in yourself to deal with whatever life throws at you.

That’s why people who are good at dealing with change often have a high level of self-confidence.

Sometimes, this comes from emotional intelligence.

People with a high level of emotional intelligence know themselves really well. That means they have a realistic picture of their strengths and weaknesses. They know what they are good at and what they can handle, and that gives them the confidence to embrace the changes they encounter.

Psychologist Hendrie Weisinger defines confidence as, “the degree to which you think and “feel” your actions will achieve positive results.” So it’s not hard to see the link between this and the optimism I talked about earlier.

Having confidence doesn’t mean thinking you’re the best at everything. It means knowing your strengths and weaknesses and trusting that those strengths will be enough to help you navigate the changes life throws at you.

8) Risk tolerance

Another trait often displayed by people who embrace change is a high tolerance for risk.

I don’t mean that they are reckless gamblers. Instead, I mean that they are willing to expose themselves to a managed level of risk if they can see that it can benefit them.

Again, this is linked to confidence and optimism. When you are confident in yourself and have an optimistic outlook, you’re more likely to take calculated risks because you have a belief that things can work out for the best.

And even if they don’t, you have confidence in yourself to be able to handle the challenges life throws at you.

Being able to tolerate risk means also being able to tolerate change. And people who are not afraid of a little bit of risk are usually the people who are most able to not only endure change, but profit from it.

9) Proactivity

A confident and optimistic outlook is all very well, but it’s useless if you don’t do anything with it.

So people who are good at dealing with change don’t just sit back and hope everything will work out for the best. They take positive steps to make it happen.

You can’t predict or control the changes that come your way in life. But as I mentioned earlier, you can control how you react to them.

People who are good at dealing with change take steps to secure their future no matter what happens. And when things change, they accept the new reality and do everything in their power to build a great life for themselves.

Dealing with change 

Ultimately, how we deal with change is one of the biggest predictors of our success and happiness in life.

Change is the one thing we are all guaranteed to encounter, so learning how to deal with it in a healthy, positive, and optimistic way is key to well-being.

And it starts with emulating the traits of people who are good at dealing with change.

Incorporate some of these attitudes into your own life, and you’ll start to feel the difference right away.

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