One of the important lessons we’ve learned in the last couple of weeks is that crisis brings change, be it change on how work will be conducted going forward or the new policies we all have to adhere to in light of the ongoing pandemic. Change is inevitable, and it takes flexibility and agility to thrive in the current economic climate. Charles Darwin once says it is not the strongest of the species that survives, but rather, that which is most adaptable or responsive to change.
Perhaps before reading further, you should pause for a moment to reflect on the following questions: What if there is no job to return to once the lockdown is finally called off? What if the demand of the market you operate in has changed? What if you have to experience a salary cut going forward? What if your skill-set needs an upgrade to meet the market demand Post COVID-19? If these are not yet your realities or impending realities, great. Nonetheless, it’s not yet the time to sit back passively or overly dependent on government stimulus package or relief fund. Everyone, either business owners or individuals still needs to take full responsibility and ownership of their life and well-being.
The current disruption in the global economy leaves us (business owners or entrepreneurs) with no choice but to go back to the drawing board. In the words of Jimmy Dean, "If you cannot change the direction of the wind, adjust yourself." Change is inevitable either imposed or self-instituted. The scale of damage in light of the ongoing Global Pandemic (COVID-19) is on the rise. As at the time of writing this column, more than 1,300,000 people globally have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, with more than 79,235 confirmed deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
Principles - A guiding rule for personal behaviour. Thomas Jefferson has rightly observed, “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” To fly high in life, we must live a life governed by principles, but not only that, we must align our principles with the right values. As Stephen R. Covey once says, "Adolf Hitler was a man of principle, but a person of wrong values."
It was George Bernard Shaw who says, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” So many people wish for a better life, a better career, a better marriage, a better this, and a better that, but they aren't doing anything about it. Unfortunately, life doesn't answer to wishes, life responds to pursuits, because "If wishes were horses, even beggars would ride."
Mike Murdock once observed, "You are always one conversation away to a changed life." I put it this way, "You are always one relationship away to a changed life." Nothing in nature grows, progress, or develop independently. The food chain and the water cycle perfectly illustrates how each member depends on another to survive or stay functional. The same paradigm applies to us as a human being. We move forward in relative to the quality of people or the relationships we build or cultivate.
All of God's creation is dependent on external influences to survive. Humans get oxygen from nature and in return gives back carbon dioxide. Plants get nutrients from the soil while the soil also is fertilized by decomposed plants. Inter-dependency is the model for God's creation. Your success or the lack of it has so much to do with how well you can cultivate, manage, and foster quality relationships.
Anna Taylor once said, “Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” When saying yes becomes your default unconscious response, your chances of succeeding in life are slim. Not all life opportunities are yours for the taking. You need to say no to some that present itself.
Suzette R. Hinton has rightly observed, “We must say "no" to what, in our heart, we don't want. We must say "no" to doing things out of obligation, thereby cheating those important to us of the purest expression of our love. We must say "no" to treating ourselves, our health, our needs as not as important as someone else's. We must say “no.”
Losing a loved one, getting married, having babies, starting a new job, quitting a job, flood, fire outbreak, buying your dream house, divorce, separation, promotion, raising capital, becoming a father, sickness, foreclosure, asset repossession, going to varsity, dealing with infidelity, downsizing, all of these, are few of life inevitable occurrences we may all likely go through.
As we journey through life, we will experience both the "winter days and the summer, the spring and the autumn." The sad reality is, none of these seasons gives a notice when they will arrive, some season come as planned, while others arrived unplanned. You see, we cannot change the direction of the wind, we can only adjust ourselves. The death of a loved one is something we often don't see coming, but sometimes, we just need to brace ourselves up once this season arrives and learn to move on.
It is said that if a frog is suddenly thrown into hot water, it will instinctively jump out because of the temperature, but if thrown into cold water and you gradually increase the temperature it won't notice the rise in temperature until it dies. How different are we from a frog if we become so used and insensitive to our current environment, level or circumstances that we fail to realize that we are all called us to a higher life, bigger and better than what we may currently be experiencing.
Rise above your limits, all circumstances may not line up in your favour, but find a way to win. Know exactly what you want out of life and go for it with all you've got. As Zig Ziglar once says, if you aim at nothing, you will always hit it every time. Success starts with you defining what success means to you. You are too important to just drift through life, no, you are not a nomad. There is more to your life even if you don't know it yet.
Repeated experience of failure or disappointment has a way of re-conditioning the mind to life reality and possibility. It takes strong willpower, and belief system to not let past painful life experiences shape our future. We all have a story of the hands' life has dealt us, but people who succeed amidst all odds, do not let their past experiences shape or define their life.
Our outlook towards life has some of its element drawn from our past and childhood experiences. As pointed out by Hanan Perez, In order to illustrate how our past experiences (especially childhood) result in the formation of beliefs that strongly affect our behavior, here are some examples
"A child who was abused forms a belief that he is less worthy than others because of the way he was treated. So he is very likely to have a low self-esteem and live with shame for the rest of his life. He may, therefore, become a shy person.
The youngest child in a family receives a lot of attention from everyone around him and so he develops a need to always be at the center of attention. As an adult, he may become a very showy, successful or a famous person just to remain at the center of attention.
A girl whose father abandoned her and her mother may form a belief that men cannot be trusted. So, as an adult, she might find it very hard to trust any man and may have problems forming an intimate relationship with a guy. She might end up sabotaging every relationship she gets into without knowing why.
A boy who always felt financially insecure as a child because his parents always worried about money may develop a strong need to become rich. He may become very ambitious and competitive. If he fails to meet his financial goals, he may become severely depressed.
A kid who was bullied in school may develop a need to become strong and therefore he might become very interested in martial arts or bodybuilding. If you interviewed gym addicts, you’ll find that most of them were either bullied as kids or were involved in a physical fight before. Very few do it just to improve their body image."
Because of the experiences that people go through in life, they develop certain deep-seated beliefs, needs and ways of thinking. In order to fulfill their needs, they develop certain personality traits. They might not be aware of the reason why they have certain personality traits, but their mind is working in the background continually seeking ways to satisfy its needs.
We all are made of our experiences that we encountered in a specific circumstance. If an individual behaves in a particular way, it is because his or her experience thought him these responses and resulting characteristics were born. We all are victims of our life experiences. But we each can change ourselves and others by changing the scars in memories by creating new and positive experiences and circumstances. We can influence opinions, understanding, memories, feelings, responses, love, hatred, prejudice, knowledge and lives by how we chose to behave and the experiences we create for ourselves and others. Your personal experiences are created by how others treat you. Likewise their experiences with you are based on how you treat them. It is a chain of continuous actions and reactions. But to change this link from a negative to a positive one, pressing the “start” button needs to come from you.
A butterfly is safe in its cocoon but it can never reach its full potential staying there. Getting out of the cocoon is tedious, difficult and challenging but it is in the process of coming out the butterfly grows its wings. Change can be scary, change can be painful, but nothing is more painful than staying in a place when the season or opportunities is over. It's challenging launching out to the unknown, it sometimes requires a stretch and sacrifice, because naturally, we all have the tendency to assume the negative of what we don’t know.
John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Change is inevitable. When you embrace change wholeheartedly as an inevitable part of life, looking for ways to use new changes to make your life richer, easier and more fulfilling, your life will work much better. You will experience change as an opportunity for growth and new experience.
Habits are a normal part of every person’s lives. But we are often counterproductive when dealing with change. As humans, we are not very good at changing. We see changes as a negative thing that something creates instability and insecurity. We go through several mental phases when confronted with change; Denial, Frustration and Anger, negotiation and bargaining, depression… Henry Bergson once said, “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”
What Brings About Change?
Government policies and regulations,
Improvements in technology,
Market situation and
Many fight change because they are afraid of the possible outcome and some fight it because they are not ready to go with the “flow.” The first step to embracing change is acceptance. Things are not always going to be the way they used to be. The human mind grows every day, new innovations, new ideas, creativity and advancement in technology are all pointer to the fact that we live in a world of continuous revolution. Laws are modified, constitutions are rewritten, new ideas are birthed, discoveries are made – change is just inevitable.
When the caterpillar is caught by change, it leaves its cocoon which represents one stage of life in order to become a butterfly so it can spread its wings and fly away. Seasons change from winter to spring so that nature could blossom all over again. No matter how bad the change might appear to be, always stay positive. Lookout for the good in every change, you can sit down and nag about the changes while waiting for the storm to pass, or you can embrace it and learn to dance in the rain.
Over the years, we’ve all been hearing about climate change, top government officials around the world holding meetings, forums, and conferences on how it can be tackled. However, there are still many out there who don’t have a clue about what this is all about and how they can be personally affected by this change in temperature. In my opinion, I think it is everybody’s responsibility to personally observe their environment, notice the changes, and proffer a solution while the governments are still working out the modalities.
In five years to this time, do you see a machine being invented or a software program being written that could do perfectly exactly what you are doing or even better? If yes, why not start forging ahead right now before a little tiny machine makes you lose relevance in the market place. Are there any new courses in your profession that you can do to give you an edge in the marketplace? If yes, I will recommend you go for it as soon as you can.
Don’t just run after the ball aimlessly, go position yourself to where the ball is going so you can get the right passes and make the score. Not all changes are bad, but you need to create the readiness to welcome them. Getting fired from a job may not be as bad as you think it is, dropping out of college may not also be devastating, some change might be difficult to embrace but when we look deeply we can learn our lessons and bring out a better version of ourselves. In order to aim for the best, sometimes, we need to let go of the chains that keep us on to a routine, or the fear of trying something new.
After all, how would you develop and grow wise if you keep living in the old familiar, constantly doing the same things. We resist change because we are afraid of change.
In his book, “Who moved my cheese? By Dr. Spencer Johnson” He wrote:
If you do not change, you can become extinct. The earlier we embrace change the better. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come. The danger of not adapting faster is that you might as well not adapt at all. The biggest inhibitor to change lies within yourself and that nothing gets better until you change. Some fears should be respected as it can keep you out of real danger. But you need to realize most fears were irrational and can keep you from changing when you needed to.”
When change happens, you can either cooperate with it and learn how to benefit from it or you can resist it and eventually get run over by it. It’s your choice. In his book The Success Principles, Jack Canfield wrote:
To help embrace any change, ask yourself the following questions:
What’s changing in my life that I’m currently resisting?
Why am I resisting that change?
What am I afraid of with respect to this change?
What am I afraid might happen to me?
What’s the payoff for my keeping things the way they are?
What’s the cost I’m paying for keeping things the way they are?
What benefits might there be in this change?
What would I have to do to cooperate with this change?
What’s the next step I could take to cooperate with this change?
When will I take it?
Though, it is easy to be preachy about change. It is easy to tell others to change their habits, attitudes, and behaviour. But one can only make a partial adjustment to their personality. And of course, that requires loads of inspiration.
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