Courtesy Tim Doyle

It happens to everyone. You get knocked off your game. Thrown for a loop. Even if you see the fastball coming at you, you can’t always move out of the way in time before it takes half of your face off. Next thing you know, you’re in the dirt, dazed and confused, trying to remember your name and favorite flavor of ice cream, let alone how you got there.

Poker & Starcraft players call it being ‘on tilt’. Make one bet too many or overextend your strategy, and all of a sudden everything’s on fire. You take the loss and try to regain some ground but things end up getting worse. The best thing to do is get up and walk away for a bit.

Note that this is not the same as quitting. I’ve mentioned before the importance of repeating the words “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” when things like this happen. The disruption is going to happen and we have to roll with the punches and take some lumps, but what matters at the end of the day is whether or not we keep going.

And if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it.

There’s no one path that leads to success. There are multiple ways to approach a problem in order to conquer it. Even if your plans get disrupted, you can still achieve your goals. You just might have to go about a different way of doing it.

Change is scary. Gamers in particular hate it. Go to any forum where the changes of a game’s engine or components (classes in an MMORPG, units in an RTS, equipment in an FPS) are discussed, and you will see torrents of rage. But these changes come about because somewhere along the line, something has stopped working as well as it should, and while a great deal of resistance may emerge as a result of changing it, it’s better to do that than leave it broken or substandard.

I think there are some people out there who, like gamers, choose to resist change in general. They like the status quo. They prefer things as they are, or lament how they once were. And when change comes up, especially in political rhetoric, they get scared. They’re frightened by what’s new and different. They can’t handle the idea of tomorrow not being the same as today. And they fight to keep the change from happening, or at the very least from being effective or lasting.

Fie on the lot of them.

If something isn’t working, if there’s suffering or misery involved with how things are, if there’s little to no forward motion, things have to change. You have to make the most of what’s going on right now, even if what’s going on right now sucks. If the game feels crappy, change the way you play. If you don’t like your leadership, vote differently. If your career isn’t satisfying you, change careers.

It’s not easy. It can be frightening. And sometimes, we’re forced to confront these changes before we feel we’re ready.

But we have to face them anyway. And it’s what will come after, not what came before, that matters.

This is why change is still good. If you can face the change and make it your own, guess what? You’re still alive. You still have a future. And its potential is unlimited.