Charles Darwin said that it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one most responsive to change. While I do not buy in to all of Darwin’s theories, I think this thought is on the money. The difference with humans, as opposed to all others in the animal kingdom, is that the human is capable of making a conscious choice to change… to adapt, to be flexible, to think and adjust, etc.
While watching a DVD presentation today by Les Brown I was impressed by a short story he told about a dog. The dog was whining and moaning when a visitor asked the dog’s owner what was wrong with the dog. The owner responded that he was lying on a nail. “Why doesn’t he move?” asked the visitor. “Well,” said the owner, “I guess it doesn’t hurt enough to move, just enough to convince him to whine and moan.”
Does this describe most of us? Are we uncomfortable enough to whine and moan but not uncomfortable enough to do something about the discomfort? One of my friends, Alan Jordan, left me with a quote that perfectly depicts when change will occur. “Change happens,” he says, “when the pain of the present exceeds the fear of the future.”
If you haven’t figured it out folks…that is profound! (It is my job as the blog master to point these sorts of important things out.)
While consulting last month with a valued customer, we were discussing his business operation, of course, and the fact that he was still working too much IN his business and not enough ON it. In short, he was swamped, stressed, and uncomfortable… yet not quite swamped, stressed and uncomfortable enough to make some changes. Yes, the changes needed to make his situation better involved some risk. The change may cost some money, the change may vest some “power” into others hands, the change may cause the owner to have to become a better manager, the change may… (you fill in the blank). He even said to me, “I guess it is going to take lymphoma or a heart attack to make me change.”
Wow…what do you think of that? It may be too late if this tragedy happens.
Change is happening all around us in our personal lives and in our business lives. We cannot stop it. But to ultimately survive and prosper…to become successful (by whatever means you define success) we must adapt…we must change. And these changes may create risk. But if we don’t change… we may just go the way of the dinosaur. Remember them? They were big, strong, and fast…but they just couldn’t adapt... and they are nonexistent today.
The AA serenity prayer is a wonderful salve for the discomfort of changing times:
“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”