Dealing with change is not an optional activity, it is a necessity. This is not only true for us human beings, but it is also true for every form of life.
Why? Because the environment in which all living entities exist is in constant change. For example, alterations in weather over short and long periods of time affect the availability of nutrients for all living things. Exploitation and exhaustion of one source of energy leads to the need to seek out other sources. Then we run into the problem of dealing with competing seekers of those same sources. This is true for every life, from the simplest ones, e. g. the virus, to the more complex, e. g., us, the members of the species, Homo sapiens.
In Chapter 7 of my book, The Pursuit of the Personal Renaissance Experience, I point out that since life evolved in water, essentially all of our vital functions depend on chemical reactions that take place in water. Consequently, our bodies, for example, consist of approximately 37 trillion water filled containers, i.e. the cells of our bodies. All the life preserving activities of every living entity occurs within these precious chambers. Yet we, out on land, conduct all of our business in dry air. To continue to live we need to constantly replenish our bodies with water, not to mention sources of energy that maintain the physical integrity of our cells. If that happens, then we, as well as all of the rest of our brother and sister living entities at least have a chance at successful reproduction, which is, of course, the basic purpose of any living organism.
In effect, we live in a space that challenges us to adapt to our surroundings. As humans we have done well dealing with changes sudden shifts in environmental conditions. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, for example, the average high temperature is 82 degrees Fahrenheit in July and average low is 6 in January. We are faced with hurricanes, floods, invasions of our bodies by microbes of all sorts, genetic and degenerative diseases of all sorts.
Yet, we carry on. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we are compelled to complete our mission to successfully preserve the key element of our physical identities through time: our unique sets of DNA. In my book I call this the Pursuit of Physical Immortality. This is what gives meaning to the whole business of self-preservation.
Of course, the activities of self-preservation do not just involve individual action since we humans have developed social structures (e.g. governmental disaster assistance agencies, insurance companies, unemployment insurance, charitable organizations, etc.) which have dramatically increased the efficiency with which we can meet environmental changes.
But still, environmental changes do require that individuals devise schemes to deal with them. These schemes represent at least potential improvements in the way individuals act. And as those individuals devise and execute those schemes in a way that solves the environmental challenge, they will experience the feeling of fulfillment that is proportionate to their perception of the importance of meeting the challenge.
The essence of this is self-improvement. The activity is reinforced by the sense of fulfillment or happiness that naturally ensues from this kind of personal renaissance experience.