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The Endless Change Rule

The Endless Change Rule

A Chapter by Debbie Barry

An essay about journeys and temporary destinations. Written for PSY 202: Adult Development and Life Assessment.


The Endless Change Rule

October 8, 2009


In LifeLaunch, Hudson and McLean (2006) report that the Endless Change Rule states: "Conducting the journey is more important than the destinations, since all arrivals are temporary.  There are no steady-state resting places, only continuous change throughout all the years of our life" (39-40).  Simply put, life is about changes.

The strengths of this rule are:

·      that it discourages a person from becoming complacent in life, thus reducing the likelihood that life will stagnate;

·      that it reflects observable conditions in the natural world, of which humans are still a part, despite the trappings of civilization; and

·      that living by this rule prepares a person for the inevitable changes of life -- growing up, getting married, having children, letting adult children go, retiring, and dying -- so that those changes may be faced more calmly, and may be assimilated into the person's life.

The weaknesses of this rule are:

·      that accepting a life of changes may cause a person to seek change more often than is natural for life, thus creating instability in the person's life;

·      that it fails to take into account the possibility that some things in life, such as basic, moral values, may not change significantly once maturity is reached; and

·      that it provides the opportunity for a person to have an excuse for not making lasting commitments in life.

The Endless Change Rule reflects Levinson's model of adult development, illustrated in Adult Development, in which "[e]ach stable life structure is followed by a period of transition in which that structure is re-examined" (Boyd and Bee, 2006, 89).  Hudson and McLean (2006) state that "competent persons need to know how to renew themselves, over and over" (40).  This echoes Levinson's theory, which says that "individuals respond psychologically to these tasks and conflicts by creating new life structures" (Boyd and Bee, 2006, 89).

The Endless Change Rule is a stage rule, as each period of change represents a stage in a person's life.  I don't believe the rule represents any one level of moral reasoning, as change begins with conception and occurs repeatedly throughout every age of life.  In fact, each level of moral reasoning could be seen as a change in a person's life.

Each of the major psychoanalytic theories fits into the Endless Change Rule.  Freud's three personality parts (Boyd and Bee, 2006, 24) -- id, ego, and superego -- each represent a change in a person's personality and consciousness.  Erikson's psychosocial stages (Boyd and Bee, 2006, 27) represent eight specific periods of personality changes in a person's life.  Each of the major behaviorists, such as Pavlov, Skinner, and Bandura, describes how changes in behavior occur through various forms of learning (Boyd and Bee, 2006, 29-32).

In the online article "Rules For Life: The 12 New Rules" ( by Frederic Hudson and Pam McLean (2000), authors of LifeLaunch, it states that "[g]lobal change is the major force in your life, and in the lives of everyone on earth" (para. 2).  The article further says that "[y]our life is an adventure, a journey through time.  There are no lasting arrival points and few lasting endings" (para. 4).  For me, this is a good description of the Endless Change Rule.

© 2017 Debbie Barry

Author's Note

Debbie Barry
Initial reactions and constructive criticism welcome.

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Added on November 10, 2017
Last Updated on November 10, 2017
Tags: essay, psychology, life, journey, destination, change

My Youngish Adult Poetry


Debbie Barry
Debbie Barry

Clarkston, MI

I live with my husband in southeastern Michigan with our two cats, Mister and Goblin. We enjoy exploring history through French and Indian War re-enactment and through medieval re-enactment in the So.. more..