“What is the most rigorous law of our being? Growth. No smallest atom of our moral, mental, or physical structure can stand still a year. It grows — it must grow; nothing can prevent it.” — Mark Twain, American author and humorist
Change happens. We can’t control much of the world changing around us. But we can control how we respond. We can choose to anticipate and embrace changes or resist them. Resisting change is usually like trying to push water upstream. Generally we’re quick to point to others who resist change. It’s much harder to recognize or admit to our own change resistance.
If the rate of external change exceeds our rate of internal growth we’re eventually going to be changed. The “ghost of crisis yet to come,” similar to the third spirit that visited Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, is also as predictable. A core theme of The CLEMMER Group’s work and this book is that success comes from change, growth, and development. If I am a static person who hasn’t developed the habits of personal growth and continuous development, I may become a statistic. I will get caught and surprised by change.
We were meant to grow. When we don’t grow, we turn to drugs, sex, crime, TV, technology, or many other diversions to fill the emptiness. Preparing for change is like preparing for final exams. We know they’re coming well in advance, good preparation and daily discipline means no crash cramming for the big event, and it’s much easier if it’s a subject we really enjoy.
Charles Darwin was a 19th century British naturalist who revolutionized the study of biology with his theory of evolution based on natural selection. His most famous works include Origin of Species and The Descent of Man. One of his key research findings was that, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Learning and personal growth is at the heart of an organization or individual’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. The key question is “does our rate of internal growth exceed the rate of external change?”
Searching for stability and predictability can be one way we resist change. Stability is when everything is settled. It’s when little new can happen to me. But that means there is no growth, no development, no exciting new gains that might result from unexpected pains. Predictability and stability is the denial of life. It also means that the faster the world changes around me, the more likely I am to become a victim of the changes I am trying to deny.
We don’t see the world as it is; we see the world as we are. If I am an unchanging stability seeker who just wants to maintain the status quo, most change is a threat. If we’re constantly seeking new challenges and opportunities to grow, most changes are an opportunity. Some people call change progress and celebrate the improvements that it brings. Others curse those same changes and long for the good old days. Same changes, different responses. The choice is ours.