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Posts Tagged ‘change

Opportunities From Chaos

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Detroit down town

Detroit downtown

Louis Pasteur said, literally, that « luck only smiles to well-prepared minds ». Often, life does not happen as expected, and even though, you are prepared to deal with the unexpected, it is not impossible that you have to face the chaos.  What is precisely chaos?

There are few definitions of chaos, but in this present article, the following definition is the most appropriate. Chaos is a condition or place of great disorder or confusion.  And this disorder induces stress, a feeling for uncertainty or insecurity. The chaos is apprehended differently by each of us, and the induced stress is negative for some, and positive for others. Negative for some, because it is an unexpected change, the loss of references, the end of certainties. For others, it is the opportunity to build something new, to discover something new, to know oneself better. Yes, for some of us, chaos is a source of opportunities. It is only a question of mindset.

As freelance interim manager, I remember a colleague telling me the circumstances in which he became a freelance interim manager.  Working for several years for a multinational company, he was fired. It was the chaos for him, thinking that it would not be easy to find a new job. By contacting recruiters, one of them suggested to him to start a freelance interim manager, as he had a strong experience and background that can be valued in this kind of job.  When he started his first assignment, he came quickly to the conclusion that to be fired was probably the best thing that happened to him. Working as freelance interim manager was for him the opportunity to work on different assignments and so to have more diversity of work, the opportunity to learn faster and to build stronger skills. At this stage, the induced stress become positive by discovering a new challenge we are able to face, empowering our self-confidence.

Another example of chaos is the fall of the city of Detroit in the United States of America. Detroit was the capital of the automobile industry, “the Motor City” or “Motown”.  The 3 main cars brands, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, located in Detroit, in addition to a relocation of their production since 1950, experience an unprecedented crisis.  The consequences are the loss of 400.000 jobs since 2008. In some neighborhoods, the unemployment rate reaches 50%. And last but not least, in 2013, with a debt of 18.5 billion of dollars, the city is asking for bankruptcy.  Public services are disappearing and criminality is spreading. Detroit becomes a ghost city. At this stage, Detroit has no choice that to reinvent another future. Detroit is suffering the inequalities between people are important, but people who stayed in town remains united and are creating innovating solutions.  One source of urban resilience is the development of urban agriculture on the abandoned land, providing fresh food for a low price. What people can’t by, they are producing themselves. It is also the starting point of the development of a local economy integrating social justice and solidarity for the most disadvantaged people.  Alongside these initiatives, some investors like Dan Gilbert, invest in real estate renovations and recreate attractive neighborhoods. Dan Gilbert, native from Detroit, decided also to relocate his ten or so companies and around 12.000 employees in Detroit, and is investing in start-up projects in order to rebuild an economical network.  There is still a lot of work to do, but here, chaos was the opportunity to rebuild a city based on another paradigm.

Chaos appears as something negative, of course because it is the result of an imbalance situation, but also because it seems to have no solutions to go out of this situation. But the cause of such perception is also a question of mindset. In the example of Detroit, the chaos has a negative impact on the people who certainly suffer from poverty, insecurity, the unpleasant environment of a ghost city. But chaos is perceived as negative in the way that failure would be definitive and that there would be no other alternative. Such perception results also from the end of certitudes and the questioning of a model.

In our complex society, change is not a variable….but a constant. And change and certitude are antithetical. Change means evolution, but evolution is not always linear. Change is not necessarily a projection of the past, but is sometimes a change of paradigm, a disruption. Change does not mean necessarily chaos if we don’t consider failure as definitive and fatal, but an opportunity to learn and to build new alternatives. Perpetual change makes that it is more and more difficult to predict the future, and it is probably also a cause of anxiety in the face of it.

But facing chaos is something we can learn from, if we see it as an opportunity to experience new things and probably to know a bit better about ourselves. It is in the adversity that we can really learn who we are, what we are able to do. Malcom X quote says nothing else: “There is no better that adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” We cannot really know who we are if we don’t face hard times, or negative experience that gives another look at things. Such experiences make us stronger if we take this as an opportunity to learn. It makes us stronger, “anti-fragile” as described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book of the same name. Antifragile is not the opposite of fragile. The opposite of fragile is unbreakable. If you drop a crystal glass on the floor, it will be broken, and this state will be different that the one before, but irreversible. If you do the same with a piece of metal, it will remain intact, in the same state, unbreakable. Anti-fragile is the stage when an object, or somebody, suffers a damage, so, changes of state but still reversible. A state where you keep track of a bad experience, but that makes you stronger because you learn from it. A state that triggers a process of resilience.

Chaos can make us stronger, more agile, and mostly if we can face it on a collective way. To come back to the example of Detroit, there are communities of people who decided that the falling of the city was not a fatality, but an opportunity to rebuild something new. They saw an opportunity to meet other people, to share knowledge, experience and skills, in order to build together a new project, a new vision of the future of the city. And knowledge, skills, are the only things each people have more than before when it is shared, contributing to empower our self-confidence. Chaos provides opportunities if we consider it as a catalyst that helps you get out of your comfort zone. It does not mean that chaos becomes something stressless, but induces a stress we have more control on, a stress inducing a positive energy to image and build new and innovative solutions.

 

Picture from Paul Barbieux (Brussels)

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

March 25, 2019 at 07:57

Let Us Save The Climate

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ClaimTheClimate

On Sunday, 2nd of December, there was a demonstration in Brussels in favor of the fight against climate change, Claim the Climate. This demonstration was a success, as more or less 65.000 people have participated to this demonstration. We can only be happy of such citizen mobilization. Such mobilization can be a motivation for people who wants contribute to build a cleaner world but who are not yet convinced about the actions to do. A demonstration is a good start, but now actions on a daily basis are the essential conditions to reach this objective.

There are many ways we can contribute to build a cleaner world. And the most important thing is to start with simple daily actions, even if at the individual level, it seems like little to the issue.  To start with simple actions is probably the best way to get closer to the goal, as change is not an easy process. We need to act step by step, letting us the time to change our internal software and to move to new habits. By acting on an incrementally way, we can increase our contribution to build a cleaner world.

Let us take a few examples. This morning, I was shopping on the Sunday market. A merchant where I am used to go asked me if I want a plastic bag to carry my purchases. I said no as I have a backpack. No need to waste a polluting plastic back. Ok, does one plastic bag make the difference? No, but if few millions of people or even a billion of people do the same, so that make the difference. It is a small action but you bring a contribution to a collective objective.

Another example:  I am member of a citizen group who founded a collective compost. This group counts around 50 families. The local authorities allocated us a space in one of the municipal parks. Each Sunday, a member of the group provides a permanent of 30 minutes, and people are bringing their household waste. The waste is weighed, what allowed me to see that in one year, I bring around 50 kilos of waste. In 2017, the whole collective recycled around 1,5 tons of waste.  Not so bad ! 1.5 tons of waste recycled in compost, contributing to feed the ground and that is an excellent CO2 sensor. The municipality multiplied the allocated spaces to the development of such initiatives that meet a certain success. I could not imagine when I join the initiative that I will contribute to recycle 50 kilos of waste, and that I will save a few garbage bags. Once again, imagine a few million, even a billion of people doing the same, that makes the difference.

ClaimTheClimate2Let us talk also about the mobility and the pollution generated by cars in the cities. First of all, the public authorities have to play a fundamental role in order to offer alternative transportation modes. For people living in the countryside, the possibilities to use alternative transport mode like train, bus, etc. are nearly non-existent. In the cities, there are alternatives, but not always efficient. Nevertheless, as already mentioned, change is not an easy process, and often, because we have prejudices about alternative modes usage.  Few times ago, I was fed up to lose time in traffic jams when I was going to work. I decided to use public transportation. As most of the time, I had a seat in the metro, I was thinking I could read a book during the path. After a few times I noticed that I did not really save time, but I did not lose time too, as I was busy to do something, by reading a book, what I could not do when driving my car. I realized that the time of the path was not the constraints, but the constraint was how can I use this time usefully.  I read around 15 books in 6 months in the public transportation. That change process is a success as I sold my car last month. By using public transportation mode, I reduced my annual mileage around 80%, and so, the possession of a car was no longer useful, as I have an alternative to use the car of one of my family member. Why this change was a success? It seems following neuroscience scientists that a positive emotion is associated to the things we like and we are used to do. This positive emotion is printed in the reptilian brain. It is only when we replaced that positive emotion by another one that the change process happens more easily. Here, in my case, the pleasure to be in my car listening to music was replaced by the pleasure to read books in the metro.  So, I reduced my ecological footprint and I would like to underline also the positive impact on my mobility budget.

Another track to contribute to a cleaner world: buy second hand stuff. Our economics system, mostly based on waste (buy, use and throw) is contributing negatively to the environment. Why to buy a news product when you can find second hand products still in good condition for a better price? The advantage of this is that you can save money and use it for other occasions. And use second hand stuff will not make you a less beautiful person.

Here was a range of tracks to contribute positively to our environment. Of course, everybody have different constraints and cannot contribute on the same way. People can contribute if they have alternatives. Another point is that a change process based on an obligation will fail most of the time.  People have to contribute if they have the possibility to do it but they need a real motivation.  As already mentioned, the most important is to start with small and simple actions. The fact to act and to try to reach the goal of environment protection will make an experience you can learn from and discover motivation sources and opportunities. The most important is that everybody contributes following his own possibilities. Even if their possibilities are low, when it is done by few million or even a billion of people, a small contribution is always useful.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

December 3, 2018 at 06:50

The Motivations Of Change

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IMG_2272After times of reflection, I decided to sale my car and to use alternative transportation modes. I am the owner of a car since nearly 30 years and to take such decisions doesn’t come overnight.  Such change is never obvious, as the car is a comfortable way of transport. There are multiple reasons why I decided to take this decision. Some are evident, other are less so.

The first reason why I decided to use other ways of transport is the cost that represents the car for the usage I have of it since few years. Like in many cities, Brussels where I am living, is facing problems of mobility. The traffic is increasing every years, and when you calculate the average speed of movement, you are nearly going faster by walking. I am a bit joking, but for instance, during my last assignment as freelance project manager, I was spending more than an hour in the morning to drive 18 km to join my customer office. Considering this as senseless, I decided to take the metro, and I noticed that it took me a bit less time than with the car, but the difference was that I can use the time spent in the metro to read a book. I was feeling less stressed and had the feeling to have learned something by reading, avoiding to waste time. One of the consequences of using less my car is that the fixed costs are expensive for a low usage.  Insurance and taxes represent expensive charges for a car parked 99% of the time along the sidewalk.

Despite the possibilities of other transportation ways (metro, car-sharing, bicycle), I was still hesitating for a while to do the step, considering that it could be possible that I could need my car a day for a reason or another.  The reason was that I never know in advance where my next customer will be located, and if it will be possible to go there in a reasonable time.  And then, I started another reflection. I have several activities, and to do them on a regular basis and in relaxing mode, what you need is….time. So I was considering if I would still ready to lose hours in traffic jams or in a long distance on a daily basis, to work for a customer. The answer was clearly “No”.  Brussels and around is a city where most of the economic activity is concentrated, offering enough opportunities, and to spend hours and hours on the road is not the best way to make your day profitable.

Then, by considering the way to work and the constraints I was ready to assume, the argument of the transportation cost was a key element in my decision. After evaluating the cost of a bundle of transportation modes (metro, car-sharing, train), I evaluated that it would represent nearly maximum 50% of my car budget. When you buy a new car, you have an increase of depreciation costs, you contract an extra insurance premium, and it means that you need revenues to cover these costs.  And then, another reflection started in my mind. By reducing the transportation costs, it would allow me to get more choice of opportunities. I would have more freedom of choice, by working for an interesting project matching with my expectations and my values, instead of working only to earn money and pay invoices.  And it is probably the real question that must be asked: why am I working for?  As freelancer, am I working to pay a car or am I working to be happy by building my own project?

By writing this article, I remember a conference of Luc de Brabandere, a Belgian consultant specialized in creativity. Luc De Brabandere mentions that each change needs two steps to be effective. The first one is to change the way we are doing things, and the other one is the way we perceive that change.  In my case, when I started to take the metro, and when I found the opportunity to read books in the metro, the question was not how long will it take to reach the office, but what can I do during that time.  So the perception of time and the perception of moving is different. This is an interesting point and somebody was telling me recently that philosophers and neurosciences specialist are in opposition. Philosophers say that everybody is able to change and that it is only a question of will. Neuroscience specialists say that it is more complicated than that. They say that when we are doing something, there is always an associated emotion, and that emotion is printed in the reptilian brain. As far as that emotion is not replaced by another emotion, the effective change process is difficult and will not happen.  Here, in my experience, the pleasure to read books and to learn was higher than the pleasure to the comfort of a car, and so a new positive emotion has been printed in my brain.

Change is complex process that doesn’t come overnight. It implies another way to think and to represent things, to consider the direct and indirect advantages that the change provides.  A change has to be desired and not imposed, and there is a time needed to integrate it. But you will notice that to start such process is a way to discover new opportunities and to move to a more enjoyable life. The key is to find the deepest motivations of your life.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

October 20, 2018 at 14:53

When you have no choice

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To reach your goal

To reach your goal   – (Picture from NYtimes)

Few weeks ago, I had to face a difficult time within the non-profit association where I am member of the board of director. We were in trouble with an employee who did not give satisfaction. We tried several time to fix what was going wrong with him, by giving some feedback about his job and about what we were expecting from him, but unfortunately, no improvement followed. After more than 2 years, we took the difficult decision to fire him.

This association is helping people in precarious situations, through different social and educative programs. I am acting as volunteer accountant and member of the board. Such commitment is very rewarding, as it makes more sense on what you are doing, by helping people. This is a real opportunity to face challenges and opportunities, and to discover new interest, to discover yourself. Nevertheless, there is not only nice things when you contract such responsibilities. There are even ungrateful things you have to face.

One of these ungrateful things is when we have to stop the work collaboration with an employee. We already had such cases in the past, but it was the president of the association and the managing director who were in charge of this difficult task. This time, as our president was unavailable for an undetermined period and as I was in charge to replace him during his absence, the weight of such responsibilities was on my shoulders. The day came where the managing director and me, we invited the employee to a meeting in order to inform him about the end of his contract and the reason of such decision.

Such meeting is never pleasant, and it was the first time I had to fire somebody, as I never had people under my responsibility during my professional career. Nevertheless, I was surprised by the fact that I stayed calm, keeping eye contact with the employee and the director. And at the end of the meeting, I thought “You did it!”. Yes, I did something I thought I would never be able to do. I did it because I had no choice, but I did it. And I began to wonder why I stayed so calm during this meeting, doing something I am normally scared to do. What was the tips making that I “succeed” in this task and having a different feeling than the one I would think I had ?

A first element is that this decision was the result of a long reflection process. During few boards of directors, the managing director talked about the problems he faced with the employee. We invited the employee to a meeting with only the administrators, to talk to us about his job, about the satisfaction he had or the problem he faced. He expressed some expectations we communicated to the managing director. Based on that, the managing director gave him some opportunities matching with his expectations, but the results were not successful. After many reframing of his tasks and an ongoing monitoring, we concluded that the job was not for him. We communicated our conclusions to him, but expressed also that he would be maybe more happy in another kind of job. The first element was a good argumentation making think us that we took the right decision.

Another element to take such conclusion, was the lack of productivity of this worker, and the consequences it had on the activity. This person was supposed to manage a team of 6 people in a social and professional integration program. He had not the skills and talents to manage such team, with negative consequences on the work improvements of the team and on the reputation of the association. This situation produced conflicts within the team, caused an additional workload for the director, and had a negative impact on the productivity of the team. The risk of seeing the activity decline and to get a bad reputation, were not an option.

The challenge here is to succeed by doing something we are scared by. By thinking about this experience I mentioned, I see two keys contributing to succeed.

  • What is the goal? To define the goal is an important step, because the goal will be the key of your motivation, the element that feel feed your energy to succeed. In the case I mentioned, the goal was not to fire the employee, but the goal was to solve the problem of organization and productivity caused by the lack of competence of this person. It could have huge and damaging consequences on the durability and the reputation of the association.
    It is interesting to think that what you define as a goal on a first time is probably not the final goal that will motivate you to take action. I remember a video of a guy who wanted to put out weight. Each day, he was going to work by running, and had always some food with him. The first days were not easy to find the motivation, and the desire to eat was still there.
    On his way, he was meeting homeless people, and one day, he decided to give them a part of his food. By doing this, he made a step to get more motivation, by defining another goal. His goal was not only to put out weight but also to help poor people by sharing food with them.
  • The other key is your motivations and the reasons why you want to achieve that goal. There are many reasons why you want to achieve a new goal, but the most important is probably the need of change. You want to change something, because the present situation is not an option anymore. By starting such change process, you will think about strategies and have a different perception of things. You will learn new things, and maybe discover new hide talents or passions. Learning something is the best way to empower your self-confidence and to give you the possibility to face new challenges and opportunities, to have bigger ambitions. I would say that the desire to learn is probably more important than the desire to succeed. And that desire will make that you will not be scared to try something new and eventually to fail. The other important element if you want not to be scared is to have an alternative plan in case of failure. Louis Pasteur said that chance smiles to prepared mind (La chance sourit aux esprits préparés).

The experience I mentioned above make me realize that sometimes, we are not enough ambitious, but also that we missed sometimes interesting opportunities. When you have no alternative and you have to face a challenge, a situation, you will concentrate all your power and energy to succeed and in some cases, you will note that you were able to win this challenge. You won because you have no choice. What is maybe more important than to define a goal, is to find the reason why you have no choice and why you have to go, to realize a dream or to face a new challenge.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

March 21, 2018 at 22:39

How to face uncertainty?

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rock-climberIn my previous post, related to the choice of studies, I was talking about the fact that to predict the future is something becoming more and more difficult. Since now 25 years I am working, and looking around me, what is for sure is that uncertainty is growing. Who can predict now how will be the world in the next 6 months, or in the next 10 years? We try to make predictions in many areas and sometimes, we have to note that these predictions are not verified. How many times have we heard some economists explaining us the origins of financial crisis they were unable to predict.

The big question is how to face uncertainty as we don’t know in advance what the evolution will be in many domains? There are in my mind two types of uncertainty to take into account; the uncertainty linked to our environment and the evolution of it, and our own uncertainty, or I would say our own uncertainties. Facing uncertainties induce questions and make people worried. What will be my future? Will I have a job? Or simply will I be able to do this task, to face this challenge?

Our own uncertainties and the uncertainties linked to our environment interact. Most of you probably know the famous Peter Drucker’s quote saying “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself”. But to be able to create something, we need to have a good perception of the future and be able to perceive the trends and the changes of our environment.  But facing the environment uncertainties means to face also our own uncertainties, with a range of questions we are putting to ourselves. What will be the future and will I be able to face it? Have I the capabilities to face challenges and what challenges will be? To face our uncertainties means to try to know a bit more about ourselves.

To consider our own uncertainties is to be aware of our lack of knowledge and experience. By mentioning this, we underline the key role of education but also of curiosity. Education and school are the fundamental tools to develop our knowledge and capabilities. Education and knowledge will give us the opportunity to become first human being and to develop our autonomy, giving us more possibilities to make choices. This is why the role of education and the way to educate people are fundamental. It is important to develop curiosity, to encourage people to learn new things by their own, to discover new interests. To develop our knowledge is probably the best answer to the question related to my previous article: what studies have I to choose? Most of the time, it is difficult to know in advance if we will enjoy things we don’t know now.

This is why people have to be encouraged to make experiences, to be curious and to try new things. It implies the necessity to take risks. By multiplying such experience in a process of serial trials, you expand your possibilities fields and you dispel your own uncertainties. You will probably enjoy something new that you never suspected before that you could enjoy. We never know in advance what things could be if we could enjoy it or not, as we don’t know them.  Such experimentation process make that your own uncertainty dispels: you know that you enjoy something, that you are able to do it or not. By expanding your interest and experience fields, you discover new possibilities, you build new competences, but you also empower your self-confidence.

Self-confidence and competences are probably the two most important key components to dispel your own uncertainties. The development of these two components will allow you to maximize your chance to attract challenges and opportunities. With all your experiences, you will build your background, a knowledge base including information that helps you to analyze situations and to develop appropriate strategies. Nevertheless, despite the fact that success cannot be guaranteed anytime, it is also important to develop and keep critical mind. When facing a similar situation we faced by the passed, we should avoid making a copy-paste of previous solutions we applied. Things are less linear than before, and we have to take all the elements of the situation into consideration to implement solutions and action plans. It is part of an efficient learning process.

It is obvious we cannot live in an environment without uncertainty. But by developing a learning attitude, we can create a virtuous circle, where experiences and risk taking contribute to empower our self-confidence. A zero risk environment doesn’t exist, but this virtuous circle will allow us to be creative and to be stronger to face it and to quit more easily our comfort zone.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

July 8, 2014 at 06:07

Change, responsibility and self-confidence.

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Self-confidence & responsibility, ingredients to feed change?

When change is considered as new opportunities by some people, it is seen as a danger by others. Change is a question of mind and some people are not used to change. But the question to be asked is why there are not used to change. Or maybe why have they no motivation to operate changes.

If we are going back to many years ago, and maybe still today in some public organizations, people were supposed to do their job as it was told to them. They were not allowed to take initiatives or to change some rules. The change was only driven by some managers or responsibles, and the employees were only allowed to do things as it was decided. But is it still possible to manage things in such a way, in a fast moving environment? No, it is not.

The development of technologies has an important impact in term of organization in companies and institutions. Each change of operating mode needs also some changes in term of people management. But in order to drive this changes successfully, people have to be motivated by changes. It is only possible if some conditions are met.

  • Function and job description: people needs to have a clear job descriptions, to have a good picture about their function in the company and the implication of their work within the organization

  • Targets and objectives: Peter Drucker was saying that management by objective works if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time, you don’t. If people know their objective, they can organize their work to reach the objectives.

  • Team spirit: personal objectives are part of global objectives, the objectives of the company, of the organisation. Global objectives can only be reached if people are working together on an organized way. It implies to know how to work, who is doing what. Let us keep in mind that there is no personal success without common success.

  • Responsibilities: By defining a function and goals for each people, you are giving responsibilities. With the development of technologies, where each function requires more skills and capabilities than before, each people is playing a key role, but need to have the feeling that this role is taken into consideration by the management. People assume and are motivated to take their responsibilities if it is recognized by the management,

  • Feedback: Feedback is important. If people are doing mistake or are not going in the direction of the assigned goal, colleagues or management need to give feedback about what is going wrong, analyse the reasons of the mistake, and to discuss about the appropriate actions to be taken. We are learning more from our mistakes than from our successes. It will help people to anticipate potential mistakes and to be more proactive, and to increase the quality of work.

  • Self-confidence: By assigning clear goals, by helping people to reach these goals and by recognizing the added value of their work, people have the feeling to be part of the organization and become more self-confident. This self-confidence will make that they will not hesitate to take initiatives to improve the processes of the organization. It is clearly a win-win situation, where people are acquiring added value and the organization benefits from the work quality of dedicated people.

As we can see, change is not something we can decide in one day. It is not only a question of mind but also a question of culture of the organization. It is obvious that culture is conditioning people, but in a fast moving environment where flexibility become a key factor of success, people can only face revolutions if they are used to work within an evolution process. And in an environment where flexibility and adaptability become important factors of success, it is obvious that people have to be used to work within an evolution process.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 11, 2011 at 20:51

When and where do the change begin?

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I was reading recently, this quote from Jack Welch, “Change before you have to”. But most of the time, we notice that people are reluctant to change, and on the other hand, people are claiming when nothing change. How to explain such paradox?

Change is first a question of perception. How can we perceive some changes, some trends coming slowly? If you have a look to a tree in your garden every day, you will probably not see that this tree is growing, but if you are looking to it three months later, you will notice that he grew. The tree grew, but you noticed it suddenly. The perception of change is a shock, it happen suddenly.

Is it because the change is not perceived that people don’t want to change, or because they are scared about change? People only allow to change if they perceive the need to change or perceive the change as an opportunity. If they have no choice or other alternative to a situation, they will be motivated to change. For instance, the development of information technologies has a huge impact in our professional and personal life. Some people are more reluctant than others to use them, because they found this difficult. But at a certain time, they will be obliged to use them, and will probably find this marvelous. Just think how we can communicate over the world via Internet and e-mail, when before you have to send postal mail without to be sure that your correspondent will receive your letter.

Change implies also education. By education, we can understand more things, and perceive the needs of change. By understanding the needs of changes and the consequences of changes, we avoid fear. But by education, people can be concerned by changes and take appropriate actions to face changes. Let us take for example the problem of environment. Scientific studies show that if all the people around the world have to live following the same standards than people in the western countries, we would need three time the natural resources the heart is producing. Each people should contribute to reduce the consumption of resources by changing some habits. Could we obliged people to change their way of live without attempting to their freedom? It is difficult of course, but the people who does not change their habits cannot obliged other people to change their way of life.

Change implies that we have first to admit that we are the actors of our own life, and the actors of the world where we are living. We can not always expect the change from other people. We have to admit too that we have to share the environment where we are living with other people, and that we have to make choices, respectable for the community. It implies that we have to take decisions and responsibilities.

Change implies to break our habits, to break the routine. This change of habits requests some effort. But people are scared to make these efforts, because they are not self confident, things seem to hem impossible to realize. How can we take such conclusions, if we do not try something else, to do things on another way? As for many things, we have first to start with the beginning, to do simple things. Before to climb the Everest, try first to climb on a chair ! Before to have some bias about changes, let’s try first some small changes. Somebody who have a Phd in mathematics had first to study basics of arithmetics. He had to learn and to understand ranges of theorems, of mathematical demonstrations. Step by step, he acquired and expanded his knowledge in mathematics. Like a house you are building by putting stones one after the other.

Can we adapt ourselves to change? Yes, we can do it gradually. As I mentioned before, you can used to accept changes step by step. It requires always an effort to adopt changes, because we have to change our habits. Change is like every exercise; when you are used to it, when you have integrated it, then it is more easy to change, and small changes make place to bigger changes. By changing things in your life, you become more self confident, we are more flexible and adaptable, and we expand our chance to face new challenges and opportunities.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

March 2, 2011 at 21:07