David Letterman retired from his gig on late-night television in May, 2015. In anticipation of his departure, he was profiled and interviewed by many. I saw him on CBS with Jane Pauley. During that interview he shared his feelings about change.
Retiring from daily television is a major change. Letterman said he found major change to be “paralyzingly terrifying.”
But in every case, after he found his way through to the other side, he said the awards were beyond his comprehension.
Letterman is not the only person to be daunted by change. Most people are. Many people are paralyzed with terror because they handle the change they face by moving aside or turning back. Some lay down in the middle of the change and get hammered until they are no more.
Letterman was one of the fortunate ones who overcame the terror. On the one hand, he acknowledged the significance of change and how disconcerting it was, but he also learned.
He learned that change must be confronted with bravery. He recognized that most of the terror is imagined. He experienced the “better,” the “refining,” and the “shaping” that change provides.
Thus, the terror feeling became his cue. “Keep moving,” he said to himself. “You will like the result,” he assured himself. “I’ve done this before,” he reminded himself. “I have what it takes.”
Experiencing change is like entering a cool pool in the summer. Diving is better than easing in.