Animals are in large part regulated by instinct; their future reflects patterns of the past. However for humans the future is not limited by instinct; it is not limited to habits of behavior. Because we are consciously aware beings, reality is the source of challenges to go beyond ‘what is’; it is forever inviting us to learn and thus to change.
According to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “all things pass and nothing stays” in other words “all is change”; reality is forever changing, forever flowing. We are not destined to repeat the practices of the past—though some work very hard to make things unchangeable.
Most people view change as a signpost for danger. They fear it and hence avoid and resist it. Strategies of resistance include: discrediting the new idea by negatively or disparagingly labeling it; discrediting the bearer of the idea; colonizing the idea by adopting it into an existing but uncomplimentary framework, thereby giving the appearance of change; and denying the need for change by appealing to the past success of the old. These behaviors are caused by fear; they are manifestations of the ego’s unwillingness to listen and learn of another reality.
As we continue this ego-centered behavior, the less likely we are to change and the more likely we are to feel acted upon and victimized by the bearers of the challenge to change—we make it about them. As our feelings intensify, we turn attention away from the need to change and focus our efforts on beating them down and disparagingly labeling those who present the challenge for change. It eventually becomes a conflict of personalities with the need for change lost in the background.
Learning is Change
Since we can only realize our potential through change—by learning anew—we must free ourselves from the familiar but constraining habits of behavior and the prison of a fixed reality. If we fail to explore new ideas—if we deny change—our future will be limited by our past.
Change requires learning, hence the more we resist change the greater the likelihood that we will find ourselves facing a world that requires competencies and attitudes we do not possess—G.M. placing profit against innovation provides a recent example of this.
In short, we will find ourselves in a world in which we can no longer exist. In effect, in choosing not to learn anew, we elect to experience the negative effects of change: We experience greater misery and move closer to extinction.
To those who believe they haven’t the time to change will soon find they’ve run out of time. Since our relationship with change and learning will shape our tomorrows, doesn’t it make sense for each of us to be open to the possibilities of business of a different mind? Wouldn’t denying the challenge be unnatural?