Change happens whether we like it or not and regardless of whether we do anything about it. Tomorrow will be different than today. We can resist, but that is a bit like standing in a river and trying to hold back the water – useless. We have a choice to watch change passively happening around us, or to participate and lead it.
Most people who say they don’t like change mean they don’t like when it happens to them, but they don’t mind if they are the ones initiating the change. We’d rather be the changer than the change-ee.
In her book Mindset, Carol S. Dweck, PhD explains how we tend to have either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. We see ourselves as flexible, adaptable, improvable, or alternately “what you see is what you get” – stuck with the cards we’ve been dealt.
Those with a growth mindset see difficult problems as challenges to be solved, embracing them with enthusiasm and determination. Those with a fixed mindset see difficult problems as a pain in the butt and tend to give up before they start. Those with a growth mindset welcome change while those with a fixed mindset resist it.
Changes are taking place on all levels, from simple to complex; whether the minuscule transformations of our brain cells to the political crises unfolding around the world. Some changes we can manage, some we can influence, but realistically, most are outside our control. Statistically few of us will change the history of the world in a momentous way. Individually we cannot eradicate war, poverty, greed and corruption. I won’t invent a cure for cancer or solve the opiate crisis. But I can change myself. And in changing myself I may have a greater, more positive impact on my world – the one in which I actually live.
We can lead change and make our world a better place if we start with ourselves. Learning to become a better spouse, parent, businessperson, leader, salesperson, philanthropist, coach and volunteer will enable me to contribute more to my family, my community, and my industry. By inviting positive change into my life, by initiating change, I might be able to positively influence others.
But that’s a choice they have to make.