Many years ago, I was sitting with Henry Conyers, my coach at the time, discussing how rapidly the planet was changing.
Henry compared those people who won’t change to the dying-off buffalo herds.
“All things must change,” he said to me, “and those who won’t change will be left behind. It’s time to accelerate your learning.”
He then spoke about the infinite number of ways we humans can retard our learning.
“We’re not really on a learning planet,” Henry said. “We keep making the same mistakes, continually going to war with one another being one example. About 10% of the folks on this planet really want to learn. Most people would rather stay the way they are, or they pretend to go along with the new ways, but it’s just that — a pretense. Once you get close to exposing their deeply held beliefs and defenses, folks can get downright resistant and ornery.”
I’m sure we’ve all seen that!
If you are one of those people who’d rather stay just as you are, in the comfort of your own habits and ways of doing things, guess what? You risk becoming obsolete pretty quickly, being either set aside by your organization (and your more progressive friends) or being passed over for opportunities for new projects and roles.
If that’s what you want, okay then. But soon you may find that people’s perception of you is that you’re becoming old! I’m talking about Henry’s definition of old, not your chronological age. Rather, Henry characterized OLD as Obstructing Learning Daily. You can be 10 years of age and do that! And on the flip side, I bet we all can name at least one person over 80 who is still youthful in outlook, spirit, and health.
If you find yourself dwelling on the past or if your memories of the past are far more enjoyable than anything you’ve got going in the moment, you may want to stop and look at that.
It’s 2019, and what’s available to us today can be far more impactful and growth-evoking than things were in the 1970s or even the 1990s. If you’re holding onto your old ways of doing things, it’s like the old technology.
I have an OLD friend who still uses a typewriter to address envelope labels, then cuts and pastes them onto an envelope with scotch tape, using a rubber stamp for his return address. Every time I get a holiday card from him, I’m still shocked. He obviously is not very concerned with having an up-to-date brand!
While this may seem like an extreme example, there are subtle ways most of us hold onto the familiar, lest we have to devote time to LEARNING. Yes, there are both personal and organizational barriers to change. For one thing, change takes energy. Many people are downright lazy when it comes to working on themselves. Don’t let this be you!
It’s not uncommon for people to know better but not do better. We often won’t change until we’re up against the wall and have no choice. Well, folks, it’s more painful when the wall is in your face, so my advice is stay current.
“I can embrace the new with glee and glory!” is an Acknowledgement I use often. Give that a try next time you require some assistance with embracing the new — before that wall starts closing in on you.
I’ve chosen a photo of the buffalo for this post, an unmistakable symbol of the species that will not change. I’d love to hear examples you’ve observed of “human buffalos” . . . and what that reluctance to change has cost the people involved.
If your example is a show-stopper, I might just ask your permission to use it in one of my upcoming posts or seminars. Stay tuned readers!
©2019 Marie Moran