Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself
We are awash in change — it is everywhere we look. The rate of change we have experienced over the last hundred years is unprecedented. For thousands and thousands of years, humans have moved no faster than a man could walk. Then for thousands more, it was no faster than a horse. Then in a few short decades, we developed trains, cars, planes, and rocket ships. Now, communication occurs at the speed of light.
The truth is that the most powerful key to an individual’s success is their ability to adapt. What is important for us is how fast we adapt to the changes around us. Those deeply rooted in traditions are prone to resist change. The traditionalists are pessimists about the future and optimists about the past.
The temptation to use tradition as a cover for prejudice and conformity, accompanied by a refusal to change or stretch, can be toxic for everyone. Many will refuse to accept that new and creative approaches to finding a solution to problems are possible. Pushed into adopting new ways, some of the more toxic t ones might join hands to ensure that things don’t work.
Change is constant, so we normally don’t notice the insignificant tor the expected changes; it’s when we are caught off-guard and the change is hurting that we get confused. We must accept that it is just one of the millions of changes happening and, good or not so good, we have to roll with them.
The fear of redundancy is very real for those not prepared for change. Unfortunately, there comes to majority of those of middle age an inelasticity not just of physical muscle and sinew, but of mental fibre. Experience has its dangers: it may bring wisdom, but it may also bring stiffness and cause hardened deposits in the mind, leading to an inflexibility which can be crippling for the individual as well as the people around him.
Albert Einstein emphasises, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mindset in which it was created.” Change happens whether we want it to or not. Some people welcome change and find ways to turn the unexpected into an opportunity for growth. Others become frightened and simply react. Life can be difficult to navigate in our fast-paced society. Things are changing so quickly these days that by the time you’ve opened the box of your new cell phone, it’s probably out of date. Perhaps the best mantra for bringing about change is to begin with oneself. As Alan Cohen advises us, “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.”
When we are confronted with unforeseen changes in our lives, our first response may be to either run away from them or fight them. Fight or flight is an inborn survival instinct that surfaces when we feel threatened. Learning to deal with the changes at your own pace is a great survival tool. We have heard counselors advising, “Go with the flow,” and that may be the most comfortable way to deal with life. To use the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”