Thursday, August 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
God give me the courage to change the things I can change,
The serenity to accept those things I can’t change,
And the wisdom to know the difference
THE NATURE OF CHANGE
When we are faced with the realities of life we recognize that, ultimately –
- we cannot change other people,
- we cannot change the nature of our world,
- we cannot change the passage of time
What we CAN change is primarily our own attitudes, behaviors, and approaches to things. In essence our responsibility starts and ends with ourselves. Responsibility is an old concept but gets a refreshing revisit from H. Stephen Glenn when he breaks it apart into response-ability – our fundamental ability to respond effectively to the external stimulus and conditions that we encounter in our lives. This works – when you are functioning responsibly in the more conventional sense of the word, we are also functioning response-ably in the H. Stephen Glenn sense of the word. The opposite is also true. This plays back directly into the old saying that we are not defined by what happens to us but by how we respond to what happens to us.
What is it that prompts change? Essentially we reach a tipping point. In any life circumstance there is an inevitable sequence of events, or life cycle, from beginning to end. If that sequence can be anticipated in terms of it’s nature and scope, as well as its impact, the opportunity exists to make a preemptive assessment of one’s best interest in relation to the anticipated outcome. It is reasonable to note here that people tend to run away from things that are bad for them much more, and faster, than they run toward things that are good for them. That having been said, most of the motivation for change can be described as inspiration, no matter whether the catalyst for that inspiration is good or bad.
There are two faces of change – individual change and group change. Inevitably, group change is accomplished through the concerted efforts of a number of individuals working to effect the change in in concert with each other. Based on what we noted previously, this would mean that one or more individuals were inspired to accomplish the change, and then were able to convey this sense of inspiration to the others, until there was a majority in favor or a consensus to pursue the change.
PRECONDITIONS FOR CHANGE
There are preconditions that must be met for any successful change.
- Recognition that there is a problem – suboptimal conditions, reduction in benevolent outcomes, or simply unhappiness, negative stress, and anxiety as prevalent mental conditions.
- Determination that there is a better and achievable alternative state of affairs.
- Determination that the process of change will not exceed the functional parameters for stable continuation of life. This can be a trade-off – if the current condition will ultimately result in untimely or unreasonable death, then the risk associated with a path of change that includes the possibility of death may not be as significant.
- Necessary resources to effect the change are available.
- Personal conviction and sense of direction necessary to work through the inevitable difficulties and complete the change.
THE PROCESS OF CHANGE
There is a sequential nature to change. Given that the preconditions have been met, that sequence starts with changing the way you think about the issue. Most conditions that are prevalent are because the people sustaining them have adopted a uniform and consistent pattern of thought in regard to those conditions. This may be a matter of benign tolerance or a matter of abject hopelessness, among other states, but whatever the state there is a sustaining nature to the mental condition of the people enduring the situation. The first requirement of change, then, is to change the way you think about the condition. Get outside the problem, breakdown the stereotypes, and create a new frame of reference. If you change the way you think, you change your beliefs.
Changing your beliefs is the next step in the process of change. If you change the way you think about something then almost as a matter of course you change the nature of what is possible and impossible. As you expand your possibility prospects, you inherently change what you believe.
Beliefs affect Expectations, Expectations affect Attitude, Attitude affects Behavior, and Behavior affects Performance. You get what you envision, what you focus on… or – What you “see” is what you get.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
The problem that always intrudes into these situations is - if you have a new job there's always the spin up time, and then the basic expectation that you will be focused on your work. This means not focused on a different job - aka the job of finding that better career opportunity.
I have said a number of times that finding a job is a full time job in and of itself. One of the ways that you can impress a potential employer is by demonstrating that you understand that, in the way you have been conducting your job search. After all they have little else in terms of real performance that they can look at.
This is where the notion of faith has to enter the picture... not it terms of Christianity or Buddhism or anything religious but the simple function of belief in yourself and what you are doing. It is easy to "settle", to take the easy path, to do something that is less than what you want to do, because it covers the bases. When it gets right down to it, that's not much better than the subsistence worker, like a Masai who come in from the bush, gets a menial job just long enough to pay for the pots and knife that he wants, and then heads back to the bush.
I am not trying to talk you out of this but there really is a point, for any of us doing this, where you have to be able to make that wager and say "I'm betting I can do better!" and then really WORK the plan to do better. Part of the process requires faith in yourself, and part of the process requires action based on that faith. Where are you on the path we set out before? How far are you with your tickler list of contacts? If you want to have the bases covered while your hunt that's fine but you better be real clear with yourself about what time and effort you will need to put in to work the issues, above and beyond the time required for that job. Depending upon when that job is, you may or may not have much time during normal working hours, when you can realistically contact people, to work the better job issues. The odds on shot is that the next time you'll have the time to no kidding, actually WORK the problem of improving your job situation will be the NEXT TIME your out of work.
Just make a pass through all this and let it mull for a couple hours, then, make your decision. Silence the clamor of worry and fear. Set aside the anxiety of the moment. To quote something useful from Dune - the Bene Gesserit "Litany Against Fear" :
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
This is that point in life where you have to make a decision that will effect the rest of your life. There are probably moments like this every day. What message do you want to send yourself? your wife? your life? It is a simple thing with vast potential. Are you really going to fall into the river with the crocodiles, or are you going to get your leg over that pipe, get across the river, and complete your mission? You have to decide what, and how much, you believe about you. It is Herculean to tell the panic to take a fuckin' hike the first time you do it, but it gets easier after that. How much of you is chutzpah, how much schmuck? How much is cajones, and how much is frijoles? In your soul of souls only you know. I have expectations and beliefs, my wife has expectations and beliefs, your wife has expectations and beliefs, but only YOU can make the decisions that determine the answer to those questions. Whatever you decide - understand this. Life is to be lived without regret. Whatever you decide, if you then spend your life regretting it, you made the wrong decision. Whatever you decide, decide something you can be happy with and then, be HAPPY!
He called me ten minutes later and wanted to know how I could read inside his soul like that. I said I didn't need to read inside his soul, I simply paid attention to those moments in my own. We all KNOW what is right, what we really want but how often do we have the fundamental courage to put it out on the table and lay claim to it? That's where the rubber meets the road!!