“It is easier to come up with new ideas than to let go of old ones.” 

I came across this quote by a Twitter follower and it completely intrigued me. Upon doing further research, (which is always a “must do” when capturing anything off the web!) the quote came from Roger Van Oech, a creative academic and inventor. The original quote is as follows:

“It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date.”

Hmmm, two years and things are out of date? It is hard for me to believe, but there is some truth in the two years. My phone is new and if we have stay connected through this newsletter, blogs and the website, the formats and templates have changed! And my thoughts on life in general are ever-evolving, sometimes becoming clearer, yet sometimes shadowed by ambiguity.

Why is it so much harder to release the old than create the new?  Perhaps our brains are hard-wired for security and to fear the unknown. We feel safe in the familiar and we create the familiar with mental or tangible processes and procedures.  We fear creativity because we face uncertain looking at the new.

This is particularly true in healthcare. We have a paradox of change. As healthcare providers, we are trained to look for signs of change in our patients. We look for abnormalities and have process maps to assess and treat. In nursing school and as a practicing respiratory therapist, I was trained to quickly observe breathing patterns, skin color, vital signs, wounds and other signs and symptoms of improving or deteriorating medical conditions.  Although data was important, I was trained to always look at the patient. This tendency for following patterns and processes conflicts somewhat with being change ready. In healthcare, we strive for a construct, a process or procedure, a pattern or “best practice” to achieve quality and best outcomes.

But perhaps another best practice is to be fluid and be OK with a change that may come tomorrow or even today. Healthcare is evolving rapidly. Clearly, the Star Trek Tricorder will be a thing of reality and personal healthcare accountability will be supported by integrated technology.  Jobs will change or go away. Letting go of the past will be increasingly important as two years of “doing the norm” may become one year, or less. We may have previously shunned the “flavor of the month” but the future, indeed, may hold many new flavors, every month, week or day.

Be ready.

Be fluid.

Just for today, consider the following:

Where was I two years ago and what was I doing?

What am I doing differently?

How am I thinking differently?

How do I see things differently?

What have I held on to that really needs to move on and out of my unconscious and conscious life?


Lisa Boesen, MAOM, is a Certified Master Coach and HR Professional. She enjoys working clients who want to work through barriers, improve resilience and approach opportunities with renewed energy and curiosity. To request more information or a free consultation, click here. 



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