ARE YOU READY FOR CHANGE?
by: Benjie Bensing
The term “survival of the fittest” was first coined by Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher, biologist, and anthropologist, after reading Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”.
Leon C. Megginson, a professor of Management and Marketing at Louisiana State University also remarked: “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change”. He further said that, “in the struggle for survival the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment”.
The fact of life is that unless we change, we will go extinct. Unless we adapt to the changing environment, we will not survive.
Change is the basic tenet of life; it is inevitable, perpetual, pervasive. It affects individuals and groups in different ways and in different intensity. Because the world is changing, so we must. Now don’t get me wrong. Change is one of the most difficult things that we have to deal with in this life. And most of us are not comfortable with chaos: we prefer the tried and tested and repetitive means that works all the time. But what happens when the variables are changed? Or, when the rules of the game are no longer familiar to us? Chances are, if the balance is tipped and the environment changes, the tried and tested means may no longer work. And so we have to transform in order to adapt into the new system.
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, once said: “All is flux, nothing stays still: there is nothing permanent except change”. As technology is advancing at light speed, new gadgets and machines revolutionizes the way we do things. More importantly, the socio-political climate has become discombobulated that the only way to survive is to acclimatize.
Kip McKean, a modern-day theologian and leader of the Sold-Out movement, said that there are three (3) motivations to change:
- We change because we have to
- We change because we need to
- We change because we want to
From my personal experience, I can say that in most cases, I am capable of changing only if I really (badly) wanted to. The other factors are simply marginal in nature.
Dr. Jim Taylor, Ph.D., a professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado, and, a professor at Wright Institute in Berkeley, has observed: “The reality is that change is difficult because in all likelihood you have been the way you currently are for a long time and your habits are deeply ingrained”[i].
Sometimes we resist change because we are comfortable at where we are. We benefit from the status quo; and we don’t want to get hurt, or, possibly hurt others in the process. But if we only persist, change has a lot of benefits:
- Personal growth – we grow and learn new things and new ways, every time change comes along
- It reinforces our beliefs and personal values – when change happens, we are faced with the dilemma to assess our beliefs and personal values, i.e, what is true, what is false, what works, what doesn’t work, etc. We reinforce those that bring positive rewards and discard those that don’t
- It makes us adaptable – we form new behavior, develop new skills, utilize new tools to cope with the changes that affects us
- It creates new opportunities – you cannot do the same things over and over and expect different results. If you want different results, do things differently. You may never know how many good opportunities are waiting for you
By adapting to the changing environment we might be able to multiply the benefits we are currently receiving in the existing state of affairs.
Marie Curie once said, “there is nothing to be feared in life: it is only to be understood.” By understanding that change leads to greater things, then we can truly embrace the disruption that it brings. Disruption creates chaos but chaos eventually leads to equilibrium – a sense of balance, a sense of newness, a sense of novelty. It could potentially hurt some individuals, but if we don’t act now, chances are we cannot survive the severe onslaught of social, political, and economic aggression intended to disrupt the status quo. We need to make a decision. And we need to make it now. Change is good – and it begins with us.