Letting go, embracing change

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Speaker, writer, and consultant Jeffrey Cufaude has two interesting posts (here and here) about change, resistance to change, and the need to overcome that resistance. This is something that has fascinated me for ages. Meeting planners deal with this all the time--that board that won't try a new destination that's perfect for the meeting, or a committee that refuses to even think about a format other than talking-head lectures, etc. So do journalists like me, who see the Internet evolution changing their jobs, or at least questioning their role in the new world of information gathering.

Change is hard. I like to think I embrace change when change is needed, and sometimes I do. But when I start getting all indignant about meeting planners who, even after 9/11, even after SARS, still don't have a plan to deal with catastrophe or an epidemic (and this with all the dire warnings about the potential for the Avian flu to turn into a pandemic that could kill millions--that went over well with my morning coffee today), I have to dismount off my high horse.

It's hard to admit it, but when it comes to thinking about horrible things and what we need to do to prepare for it, well, we don't want to think about it. We're comfortable. It won't happen in our lifetimes, anyway. It could never happen to us. The excuses are plentiful, and convincing, especially when you don't need a lot of convincing because you really don't want to deal with the difficulties of making change happen. And, you know, change could be for the worse, right? Better the devil you know, and all that.

So we continue on our old paths, our old ways, doing things we know work because they've always worked in the past. Why change? As Jeffrey so beautifully put it:

Many people seem to attach a state of presumed permanence to things. Because something is a part of the current landscape it is meant to be so forever. Perhaps this brings them a sense of security and balance when surrounded by constant change. And continuity can be a good thing, but it also gets in the way of the natural process of renewal and rejuvenation

We're not sitting on the shores of the world, watching it go by while we stay safe and dry. Nope. We're in a kayak shooting those rapids, and complacency--wonderful, comfortable complacency--is self-deluding. Life is change, for better and for worse.

As of this morning, I'm recommitting myself to studying that river, its eddies and sinkholes, its waterfalls and smooth stretches. Then I'm going to grab my paddle and ride that sucker wherever it may lead, because while change is hard, and scary, it also can take us to places we never thought we had it in us to see. Care to join me?

Speaker, writer, and consultant Jeffrey Cufaude has two interesting posts (here and here) about change, resistance to change, and the need to overcome that resistance. This is something that has fascinated me for ages. Meeting planners deal with this all the time--that board that won't try a new destination that's perfect for the meeting, or a committee that refuses to even think about a format other than talking-head lectures, etc. So do journalists like me, who see the Internet evolution changing their jobs, or at least questioning their role in the new world of information gathering.

Change is hard. I like to think I embrace change when change is needed, and sometimes I do. But when I start getting all indignant about meeting planners who, even after 9/11, even after SARS, still don't have a plan to deal with catastrophe or an epidemic (and this with all the dire warnings about the potential for the Avian flu to turn into a pandemic that could kill millions--that went over well with my morning coffee today), I have to dismount off my high horse.

It's hard to admit it, but when it comes to thinking about horrible things and what we need to do to prepare for it, well, we don't want to think about it. We're comfortable. It won't happen in our lifetimes, anyway. It could never happen to us. The excuses are plentiful, and convincing, especially when you don't need a lot of convincing because you really don't want to deal with the difficulties of making change happen. And, you know, change could be for the worse, right? Better the devil you know, and all that.

So we continue on our old paths, our old ways, doing things we know work because they've always worked in the past. Why change? As Jeffrey so beautifully put it:

We're not sitting on the shores of the world, watching it go by while we stay safe and dry. Nope. We're in a kayak shooting those rapids, and complacency--wonderful, comfortable complacency--is self-deluding. Life is change, for better and for worse.

As of this morning, I'm recommitting myself to studying that river, its eddies and sinkholes, its waterfalls and smooth stretches. Then I'm going to grab my paddle and ride that sucker wherever it may lead, because while change is hard, and scary, it also can take us to places we never thought we had it in us to see. Care to join me?

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