I want to address in this short article a question some of you might be asking about change fitness. Does change fitness relate to a certain type of person (i.e., is the change-fit person a certain type of person?) or does it refer to the current change fitness of any of us? In other words, does change fitness relate to who we are, or does it relate to how we are?

Psychological Tests

Most of us have some awareness of psychological tests that pigeon-hole us into a certain type of person. IQ tests, once used more commonly than they are now, slot people into a limited number of boxes.  You might be of average intelligence, below average, or above average. If, say, you score above average on a test like the Wechsler Scale, that is meant to say something ‘permanent’ about you.  You are intelligent.

Many people have experienced the Myers-Briggs test or the DiSC profile. Again, these results pigeon-hole you into a type (or combination of types). It is not uncommon for people to use the signs of the zodiac in similar ways.  They say things like, “The reason I’m bossy is because I am a Leo”, or “I’m very intuitive because I’m a water sign”.

It seems many people like to ‘know’ what ‘type’ of person they are.  In their view it helps explain their behaviours and helps them navigate around other people.  Yet even though it may be useful to pigeon-hole people, not everyone is convinced that these types are, in fact, real. I don’t want to explore this argument in any detail here but you can follow it through some of the discussions on LinkedIn, particularly in relation to Myers-Briggs.

I want to make clear that there is no such thing as a change-fit type of person.[/su_quote] The same applies to physical fitness.  Someone who is very unfit could become very fit, if they commit to exercise and healthy eating. Similarly, people who were once very fit can become unfit if they develop poor lifestyle habits. Fitness describes a current state, not a permanent state.

Change Fitness and Physical Fitness

When it comes to change fitness, we can change our level of fitness. To better understand how this works we can use the analogy of physical fitness.  As we develop physical fitness certain key indicators change within our bodies – our cells process oxygen more efficiently, our muscles grow and become stronger, etc. These are the physical responses to our exercising and training, but they are not the only kind of responses we notice.  We feel healthier, we can run further without getting puffed, we feel more confident to engage in competitive sports, we look better, and we get sick less often.

In other words, we have more capacity to do the things we enjoy. Whilst the effects on our bodies are important, most people feel more positive about looking better, being able to enjoy more, and being able to achieve more. Change fitness is similar to that. [su_quote]When you are change-fit you find it easier to achieve more, you are more confident in your ability to attempt new things, and when good opportunities come your way, you feel more confident to go for them.[/su_quote]

When you exercise to become physically fit it is your body that makes the primary responses: you often make psychological improvements as well, but in the long- term only if you see physical improvements.  If you exercise and don’t feel any better or lose any weight, your psychological state will probably decline.

When you exercise to become change-fit, it is your mind that makes the primary responses: how and what you think, and how you see the world.  As your thinking changes over time, you become more able to grasp opportunities, solve problems, and not just to be, but to become.

None of us is pigeon-holed in relation to change fitness.  We may have different ways of changing our thinking, we may respond to different stimuli or different modes of instruction, there may be individual factors governing how much or how quickly we can change. But these things don’t pigeon-hole us.

You can become more change-fit than you are now, or less fit. Unfortunately, many people find themselves less able to handle change as they grow older. They get more ‘stuck in their ways’, which really means they find it more difficult to change their thinking. But no one is locked into this.  The choice is ours about developing change fitness. I wish you a fulfilling and change-fit future.

Dr Steve Barlow