Why are people afraid of change?

Have you been wanting to change things up at work? Perhaps introduce some new methods and ideas? Maybe you have been wanting to change up your family traditions? Well, that’s great. Kudos to you. However, if you want to make serious changes, it might be important to understand the psychological challenges you will be faced with.


Change is much more than merely taking on something that is unknown, it is also about giving up something that is old. We often see the old as gold and the new and something bad. Research has shown that people really prefer things that have been around for a longer amount of time.

But all things being said, we all unconsciously believe that longevity is the best way go. And in many cases, this makes perfect sense. If something has stood the test of time, then it surely is a good method in many respects.

The problem with longevity as well as tradition is that they are not always the most accurate predictors of what is good.  Factors such as habit and fear of change can be the actual reasons for us not wanting to try something new. There are also aspects of life that should not be affected by this, such as cuisine or art. The length that the art or cuisine has been around should not really have any connection to how much you enjoy it.


Although somehow, it still does play a role. In a study, it was shown that people appreciated an older painting a lot more than the same painting that was painted more recently.   In another example, study participants were given European chocolate, some that were sold 73 years ago, and some that were sold 3 years ago, and of course, they said that the older one tasted better.

It is however very plausible to overcome this unconscious bias, however, if you do want to do so then you need to successfully realize that it exists. In order to bring about change positively, we need not only to convince those around us that it can be good, but that we also touch on their unconscious belief that what already exists is the best option.