Today I was pointed in the direction of an article in Fast Company by Alan Deutschman called “Change or Die.”
It stuck a chord with me right away because I’ve been working on a piece about doing something great and one of the biggest barriers to getting something great done is fear of change. In my line of work I’m forced to change constantly and yet still I’m fearful and uncomfortable at times with change. At other times I feel I’m one of the lucky people who can embrace it and even force it.
Not everyone, as this great article points out, is like that. Fear of change can be a huge barrier to getting what you want out of life. This article is a wonderful resource and has some interesting thoughts on life, change, lifelong learning and more.
A few excerpts:
h3. Lifelong Learning
As a big proponent of lifelong learning I really enjoyed this and think the fifth-day strategy is great:
…leaders of a company need “a business strategy for continuous mental rejuvenation and new learning,” he says. Posit Science has a “fifth-day strategy,” meaning that everyone spends one day a week working in a different discipline. Software engineers try their hand at marketing. Designers get involved in business functions. “Everyone needs a new project instead of always being in a bin,” Merzenich says. “A fifth-day strategy doesn’t sacrifice your core ability but keeps you rejuvenated. In a company, you have to worry about rejuvenation at every level. So ideally you deliberately construct new challenges. For every individual, you need complex new learning. Innovation comes about when people are enabled to use their full brains and intelligence instead of being put in boxes and controlled.”
What happens if you don’t work at mental rejuvenation? Merzenich says that people who live to 85 have a 50-50 chance of being senile. While the issue for heart patients is “change or die,” the issue for everyone is “change or lose your mind.” Mastering the ability to change isn’t just a crucial strategy for business. It’s a necessity for health. And it’s possibly the one thing that’s most worth learning.
h3. Accentuate The Positive
Another bit, on framing change, I found especially inspiring:
The patients lived the way they did as a day-to-day strategy for coping with their emotional troubles. “Telling people who are lonely and depressed that they’re going to live longer if they quit smoking or change their diet and lifestyle is not that motivating,” Ornish says. “Who wants to live longer when you’re in chronic emotional pain?”
So instead of trying to motivate them with the “fear of dying,” Ornish reframes the issue. He inspires a new vision of the “joy of living” — convincing them they can feel better, not just live longer. That means enjoying the things that make daily life pleasurable, like making love or even taking long walks without the pain caused by their disease. “Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear,” he says.
I love the idea that change can be spun in a positive way. I think some of the best things in life come from change and yet we often see change as something negative or too challenging.
Those that can embrace change are those that will do great things. The good news is, I think you can learn how to embrace change and it’s something anyone can do. Just as I feel anyone can do something great. More on that later. ;)