This is an introduction to my view on change and personal innovation. In my previous post I talked about how all things are as they are, or the general is-ness of everything. Realizing the is-ness of your world can indeed be a powerful tool for acceptance, and I also want to tell more about what is really is. It is the only constant in this world. Change!
As often happens, an idea is born in many bright minds seemingly at once. Around 2500 years ago the greek philosopher Herakleitos coined the expression “the only constant is change”. At the same time another wise man in northern India called Gautama Siddharta spoke of the “impermanence of all things”. In China another philosopher named Lao Tzu, perhaps most famous for the profound spiritual text the Tao Te Ching said: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Although this idea has been largely ignored for hundreds of years, it has crept its way into general acceptance over the last decades. Perhaps this is because the rate of change seem to accelerate. Until quite recently it seemed the recipe for success was to keep doing what always worked. Life was passing by in a slower tempo and tomorrow was more or less predictable. Today the world seem to be changing at an ever-increasing rate and the innovative idea of yesterday is already old news by tomorrow.
The first step in making change a companion in my life is of course acceptance. This is what I talked about in the previous post about is-ness. Acceptance that change is a constant will make me ready for change, but this is only half of the way. When I am facing a situation that requires change I have two possibilities: Either I undertake a helped change or a voluntary change.
The helped change means that I am not making a decision to change myself. Rather someone or something external helps me by making the decision for me. In other words, I didn’t take the initiative and my action is not the cause for change. This usually makes the change more difficult to accept and integrate in my life. One example of helped change would be that I start enjoying life when I am old, because I now realize that I have very little time left.
A voluntary change, on the other hand, means I made the decision to change myself. My initiative and my action caused the change. As a result I have fewer negative consequences and the change is much easier to integrate.
So the trick here is to migrate from being ready for change to being a creator of change. You can also call this being pro-active, as opposed to reactive, showing personal leadership or personal innovation.