The Paradox of Taking Chance on Change

Aug 19 , 2023
By Kidist Yidnekachew

A dilemma of giving someone a second chance came to the conversation I had last week.

The man used narcotics for "recreational" purposes while he was on campus which escalated quickly. He dropped out of college and lost his way for a while, but eventually got back on track and graduated.

He had found a job which demanded relocating outside of Addis Abeba. After he moved, there were occasional requests for money backed with justifications to support his claim. However, his parents were far from taking a chance and opt to refrain from sending finances.

Some family members fear that the disappointing consequence might lead to relapse although he claims that he is willing to wait for them to come around longing to see the day they will embrace the changed man.

On the other hand, the parents who had no way of observing the reality for themselves as he is not active on social media platforms are met with a difficult choice.

They constantly fear another relapse story lurking around the corner even though they say they want to believe the changes are real.

I often come across the saying "people don't change" used as a backdrop to justify the behaviour of someone. I believe that it holds some truth that the habits developed remain consistent unless effort is put into unlearning the old ways.

Change requires hard work. It is easier for people to revert to old behaviours even when they know it is not in their best interests, as the brain is wired to attempt to preserve energy.

We are creatures of habit. People become accustomed to a routine and avoid disruptions. Some simply do not see the need to change.

They are content with their lives and see no reason to rock the boat. They may be aware of their problems but may not consider them serious enough to warrant the shift.

There are a number of reasons why people find it difficult to change. However, it is not something that cannot be realised.

Giving someone a second chance is a risk that can either be a regretful or rewarding experience. Some people are more likely to repeat their mistakes than others, but everyone has the potential to learn and grow.

There is no simple answer to the question of whether or not people can truly change their habits.

Change is difficult, but it is possible. If someone wants to transform their lives, a clear goal in mind and a plan for how to achieve it goes a long way.

They need to be willing to put in the work. Patience and persistence are the two pillars of change while willing to face challenges.

If someone is genuinely committed, they will take advantage of the opportunity and become a better person, which can be an exquisite experience to see them transform their life.

However, there is always the off chance that it might backfire. If one is unprepared for this possibility, they are setting themselves up for failure. The result might be disappointing for family and loved ones but being realistic about the risks of giving someone a second chance

PUBLISHED ON Aug 19,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1216]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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