Today’s proverb is, “Don’t change horses in mid stream.”
I personally don’t feel this applies to all areas of life. Sticking with something for the sake of seeing it through can be good and character building, but it can also have drastically damaging and disastrous consequences. Should someone stay in an abusive marriage simply because they made a commitment? They intended to be with the person forever, but the person is no longer who they married and staying with them is killing them spiritually, mentally, and physically.
There are limits to this proverb. Everyone needs to have “dealbreakers”. You have to be able to draw a line at what you will not accept in behaviour from another person in your life, be it a friend, a lover, or a relative. Be careful how crazy you get with the line or you may end up with no one, but have a line. Boundaries are important and only you can define them for yourself.
This proverb applies to some things like essays in secondary or post-secondary education for sure. Finish the paper you started because you probably don’t have time to write something else even if the current topic has become uninteresting.
Should you stay with one company for your entire career? Probably not. Another instance where you need to change horses to improve skills as a worker.
What about clubs, teams, hobbies, etc? I say that life is short. Have dealbreakers here too. If you constantly feel like you are dreading that thing you are supposed to love, explore the reasons why, take time away to reevaluate, then make a decision that is in line with your other goals and lifestyle. That hobby isn’t going anywhere and if it’s more stressful than it is fun, it’s time to do something about it. Maybe that means changing your role, involvement level, or trying a new place out. Ultimately, you need to do what is right for you and only you can decide that.
A few years ago I made a tough decision to change karate dojos. I knew my goal of learning to defend myself wasn’t happening in sport karate, so I changed to a more traditional dojo and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to leave the city for work, so I’m not currently doing karate. This is partly because I enjoyed the weapons component the most. I fell in love with Iaido and do that art instead. Iaido has karate-like moments though and swords are sweet.
In the spirit of Kaizen… I try to ensure that any changes I make are good ones. I look at the health benefits (stress reduction, digestive improvements, spirituality) and I look at how it fits with the goals I have for my life (will it afford me more time to write books and train in Iaido?).
The choice to change horses is more complex than this proverb allows for. Perhaps it is because I am prone to over-thinking many things in life, or life was much simpler in certain ways when the proverb came about. It could also be that more people are climbing higher up Maslow’s Hierarchy today. That may be only my perception of it though.
At any rate, this all leads me to say that I have a forthcoming decision to make related to this proverb. More to follow in the months ahead. What decisions are you stressing about right now?