Oia Santorini – Change

Of all the things in life…. change is the only constant!

Of all the fears in life…. fear of change is the most common!

These are not quotes (well…maybe the first is), they are just personal beliefs. I don’t think that either are profound or particularly insightful., but I have seen enough evidence in my life to know that both these beliefs are valid. 

We are all creatures of habit and the longer we do something the harder it is to break away from it. We are all aware we do things out of habit… some are good and some are bad, yet we keep doing all of them… often for years, sometimes for a lifetime. Change is uncomfortable and therefore we avoid it…. often at all costs.

So we keep doing things, stay in places (jobs/homes/cities/countries), talk to same people, think the same way….yet, we somehow expect that things will one day change. A reasonably intelligent gentleman (as in Bert…. as in Albert… as in e=mc squared) told us that “insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results”… he did have a knack for simplifying things to the point where just listening to that makes one feel like a total fool. We have all done it !

So… are we all insane? 

Lucky for us those clever munchkins, the head-mechanics, have a very valid theory. Its’ called “escalated commitment”. The more you commit to something, physically, emotionally/mentally, the harder it is to change it or at least break away from it (oversimplifying the theory here…forgive me). When you really think about that it explains so much of our lives. Our commitment to so many things has been allowed to “escalate”… often to ridiculous, even insane levels. We find ourselves so “deep” into things that we can’t break away. Sometimes it’s pride, money or emotion invested, reputation, or length of time that’s stopping us. Whatever the investment… it has escalated to the point where we become prisoners to it.  

Yesterday I got four different emails from people who said that they would love to live somewhere like Oia (you can fill in the place with any city/country/island you wish). Yet each of them mentioned that they had “commitments” they couldn’t walk away from… so “for now” they will just “dream” about doing it “one day”. It all sounded familiar to me…very familiar. You see, I used to say the same thing…for years. Until, I realised that there is such a thing as “positive escalated commitment”. By that I mean “aligning your life to your dream”. 

I figured that it can be good to escalate a commitment…. as long it is in line with what you want to do or experience or feel. Good things take time and you have to keep working towards them. If you make a start and you keep investing time/effort/emotion/passion, then soon you can achieve it. At least you are heading in the right direction. You are taking steps, albeit small at times, towards the dream…. whatever that may be !

When I started this blog I dedicated it to the “undecided”. I guess what I am saying with this post is that if you do have a dream, then make sure your “escalated commitment” is towards that. Turn it into a passion and invest a lot of you in achieving it  .:.


On a lighter note… the cacti on the front steps have actually flowered!



How is that for change…

Have a great weekend ;-)


8 responses to “Oia Santorini – Change

  1. An excellent post!
    As a great fan of Albert .. . I’m quite familiar with the quote and the concept. Have never heard of
    “escalated commitment” , but that certainly seems to be a valid description of how we structure our own personal fences.

    My favorite story regarding how much humans dread change:
    After WWII, when the allies went in to release the prisoners in the concentration camps – they were stunned to find that some were reluctant to leave! It was hell, but — it was at least familiar.

    I call this phenomenon:
    “It May Be Auschwitz, But It’s Home.”

    Here’s to great leaps into the
    Great Unknown … .


  2. I love your blog, it’s very beautiful. I love the environment you live in.

    I myself was born and raised in Malta in the Mediterranean but always wanted to live somewhere chilly, brisk, with forests and meadows. And now I do :)

    I wonder – what is your profession? Is it something you used to do wherever you lived before oia-santorini, and now do there? Or did you change your career?


  3. Hi M –
    Change does take discipline and commitment, which is why it is so hard to achieve…why people can’t stick with diets or exercise programs. You definitely have to keep your eye on the prize for quite a long time if you want to move to another country. But what a reward! You are a natural motivator!
    Enjoy your weekend in Oia –

  4. Thanks Michael. I heard this every time I went to a new place to study or do research. Etc. Much less $ than anyone else, they couldn’t figure out how I did it. Because I wanted to do that more than I wanted a lot of material things, like cars, etc.

    On a more disturbed note: while I have more-than-warped sense of humor, I object to the “It may be Aushwitz…” phenom title.

    It sticks in my craw, really. I’m upset. So off I go. (I attended the funeral yesterday of murdered officer at Holocaust Museum where I was for a mtg that day…& much else.)

    Those who did not want to leave the camps were severely traumatized & physically ill…please, some respect. And in a trance, such as we can never fathom.

    Michael: not to embarrass you but I think you mean ‘break’ not ‘brake’ – unless in my momentary distress, I missed a pun. It’s a sickness, having been an editor. Before being blown sky high.

    Have a good weekend.

    • ;-)
      you’re totally right about my spelling Susan, too much reliance on spell-check.

      I don’t think J’s comment on Aushwitz was meant to be disrespectful in any way. Simply meant that people can grow so accustomed to an environment, no matter how terrible it may be.

  5. Caro Michael,

    Change is uncomfortable. Consumes your energy. Means unsafety, uncertainty. A quagmire… And yet… What makes some people jump and others stay put? I jumped several times in life. Initially all my bungy jumps confronted me with “problems”, but I always came out a little wiser. Made me grow up, changed myself for the better (I hope). At least I lived my dreams, and I never regretted any of them. I would not like to die a fossile, yearning for change.
    What an inspiring post, Michael. It makes reading your Oia chronicles even more interesteing from now on. Bacione! Ingrid in Umbria

  6. It was Heraclitus that said ‘Change is the only constant’ or words to that effect. Oddly enough a Greek Philosopher, and one who’s doctrine I have woven into my life also.

    I would love to move to and live in Oia, we spent our last holiday there and found it was the most wonderful place to be. I was brought up in Cornwall looking out over St Michael Mount and found the setting of Oia just as if not more beautiful. Somewhat like St Ives also with the artistic community so abundant.

    So a year now I have been thinking… what can I do to make my dream come true? I need to learn Greek and find a way of moving my small recording studio over there? Convince my girlfriend she wants to give up / move her career etc. Find more finance, find a house?

    I am training to teach design and technology and perhaps after a year or so of this, I can learn some Greek, move over to Oia and find a job teaching or recording music. Though I have no idea how much work is available in the area.

    What is stopping me…? yes, I suppose it is fear of change, lack of funds, call it what you will.

    But to read your words of wisdom while randomly surfing the inter-web for properties in Oia and dreaming of a future that has not yet been unfolded.

    A gift of coincidence or happenstance?

    Who knows?

    What I do know is that I am happy for you that your dreams are realized. The cacti have flowered for you. I hope too one day not too far from now I will be looking out on the Caldera and knocking on your door to say gia’sou, and Efharisto!

    Until then, Live well and Laugh Often.



    • Lovely comment Julian…thank you and welcome. Serendipity or happenstance? who knows indeed !
      What do you need to do to make your dream come true? put a date on it!
      There may not be any recording work here…yet. But that doesnt mean you cant change that if you’re clever about it. There is nothing that cant be changed if you’re clever about it.
      It’s not easy… that much is certain. But then again, if it was… everyone would be doing it ;-|

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