“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” This expression can be a good reason to keep on doing what has proven to work effectively. Makes sense, right? But, this good advice misapplied can also create problems. Consider someone using this cliché as an excuse to avoid necessary change. A threadbare tire that still holds its air comes to mind. Technically, it is still working. But disaster lurks. Consider also something that works, but is about to fail due to a change in external conditions. This happens in business all the time. Products, services, and business models are constantly being made obsolete by something new and better. In business, continuous change is required to survive.
“Change before you have to.” — Jack Welch
Now, to my main point. Some people will do almost anything to avoid change. Certain kinds of change make people uncomfortable, even fearful. Instead of change being an opportunity for improvement or to experience something new, they gravitate toward the familiar, which they acknowledge could be inferior. Funny thing, this tendency seems to increase as we age.
“The devil we know is better than the devil we don’t know.” — Cliché
“Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places.” — E. Joseph Cossman
Change should not be something to automatically fear. After all, changing socks is a fantastic idea. Changing lanes is often necessary. Changing keys makes music interesting. Changing colors makes autumn beautiful. People enjoy watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Finally, this post is the result of many changes. (You should have seen the first 59 drafts.)
Change is more acceptable when seen as a remedy for suffering. Like most elections, the buzzword in the last presidential election cycle was “change.” Most of the candidates have used it or similar words such as reform. For example, Huckabee proposed to “reform” the tax system. Obama’s overall theme was “stand for change.” (This was later changed to “Unite for Change.”) In these and most other cases, the same game plan is in force. Step 1: Convince the people something is terribly wrong or headed in that direction. Step 2: Offer to come and save the day through “change.” (I think I hear the Lone Ranger theme song.) Before taking sides in these matters, some questions we must ask are, “Will the proposed changes really save the day?”, “Which person or group is most qualified to save the day?” and “Does the day even need to be saved?”
Here are some thoughts to help change our attitude toward change.
“If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going.” — Professor Irwin Corey
“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future.” — Eric Hoffer
“No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.” — John Stuart Mill
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” — Carol Burnett
“The most effective way to manage change is to create it.” — Peter Drucker
“Lord, where we are wrong, make us willing to change; where we are right, make us easy to live with.” — Peter Marshall, US Senate chaplain
“If the rate of change on the outside (of the firm) exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” — Jack Welch
“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.” — Jim Rohn
“We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.” — Harrison Ford
“The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything – or nothing.” — Nancy Astor (1879 – 1964)
“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” — William James (1842 – 1910)
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” — Warren Buffet
“It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” — James Gordon, Medical Doctor
© Copyright June 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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