Opinion Op Ed 26 Feb 2019 Mystic Mantra: Chang ...
Moin Qazi is a well-known banker, author and Islamic researcher. He can be reached at moinqazi123@gmail.com

Mystic Mantra: Change as a way of life

Published Feb 26, 2019, 1:15 am IST
Updated Feb 26, 2019, 1:15 am IST
The traditionalists are pessimists about the future and optimists about the past.
Perhaps the best mantra for bringing about change is to begin with oneself.
 Perhaps the best mantra for bringing about change is to begin with oneself.

I dread it.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
— Rumi

We are awash in change — it is everywhere we look. Change has become an integral part of my life and career. What is important for us is how fast we adapt to the changes around us. Those who are deeply rooted in traditions are quite likely to be resistant to 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, manifests itself as “we will do it this way because we always have.” Many will refuse to accept that new and creative approaches to finding a solution to problems are possible. Pushed into adopting new ways, they might join hands to ensure that things don’t work.

The fear of redundancy will be very real for those not prepared for change. Unfortunately, for the majority of those of middle age, inelasticity comes — not of physical muscle and sinew alone, but of mental fibre as well. Experience has its dangers: it may bring wisdom, but it may also bring stiffness and cause hardening of the mind, leading to an inelasticity which can be crippling for the individual as well as the people around him.

One of the keys to an individual’s success is one’s ability to adapt to changing situations.

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. Avoiding uncertainty and discomfort is what we do. Change can certainly be scary and difficult for many of us. When something changes it challenges our ideas and feelings of safety and security. How we handle the inevitable changes are the keys to living a life without fear.

It’s much easier to navigate change when you feel like it’s your choice. This often isn’t the case at work. But adopting tools to manage the stress of those changes can help make the transition easier to accept.

In a rapidly changing world, we have to prepare ourselves for challenges that will confront us every day. This requires a liberally educated citizenry. The only education that prepares us for change is liberal education. In periods of change, narrow specialisation condemns us to inflexibility — precisely what we do not need. The right attitude can mean the difference between allowing unexpected life changes to keep us from achieving our goals or dealing with the changes and growing because of them.

We have to embrace change in all its forms, because every experience has something to teach you about yourself, about love, about life and about being the best, most authentic, version of you! Embracing change with our full being is the only way for us to live mindfully and meaningfully.

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.”

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. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”