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Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Most ignorance is vincible ignorance:
we don’t know because we don’t want to know.
Aldous Huxley

In all human endeavors there lie risks we don’t want to explore, flaws we’d rather ignore, and conflicts we’d rather avoid. We choose the comfort of deliberate ignorance over the insecurity of uncertain knowledge.

We are all incredibly good at stepping around the things we mustn’t discuss. Irrational actions rule supreme in the face of topics smeared with the taint of taboo.

The solution of course, is to take those lonely and invisible 800 lb gorilla problems and place them in the middle of the table. Shave them naked and paint them a glorious glowing neon pink. Make it so that we’d have to be blind to ignore their presence.

Problems grow stronger in the shade of solitary confinement. They shrivel to a fraction of their size when exposed to those dedicated to finding solutions.

Problems by definition ‘need fixing’… actions that result in conspiracies of deliberate avoidance are counter to intelligence.

From a reluctance to tell a friend they have bad breath, to the corporate wide ‘decision’ to ignore unethical policies… problems gain strength from silence.

The unacknowledged problem is forever unsolvable.

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Don’t fight forces;
Use them.
Buckminster Fuller

Ships sail against the wind, waters behind the dam give it strength, the weight of an arch bestows suspended flight to waves of stone and steel. In all of these, the forces that work against success, are what make it possible.

Physical force has direction and energy, but no motivation or intention. Manipulate what works against you, into working for you.

Our first reaction to any opposing force is to push back, it’s an instinctive, simple, uncomplicated strategy, and this sometimes brings success. We have other options.

In unrelenting heat, ice cold water is scarce, unless you place it in a porous terra-cotta pot. The evaporating droplets create a chill, just as sweat will cool the body. Don’t fight the heat, use it.

The forces we encounter as obstacles to our goals aren’t always physical, sometimes they’re political, spawned of human nature and desire. The advice doesn’t change, don’t fight the forces, use them.

If someone is an expert at finding fault with a project, place them on the project with the task of avoiding fault.

If someone’s ego is in the way of a change, then frame the success to feed the ego.

Make the force be with you…

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Let us endeavor to live
that when we come to die,
even the undertaker will be sorry.
Mark Twain

Each day is a brick to be thrown or build upon. Even at the height of anger we have choices — to defend or to destroy. We choose our roles — protector or protagonist.

Is today a better place, because of actions taken yesterday? Did we roll the rock higher? Did we grow, or were we ground down?

These are simple questions, no less important because of their simplicity. They search for the light that guides us. When every wind is against us, when every path is uphill, what keeps us moving? What makes it all worthwhile?

Or is the secret not to think too much? To let it all just happen and cast our lot into the storm? “Making the world a better place,” is one of the many answers found. Another is: “Take care of those around you.”

The probing question remains… how wide do we cast our net? How large the circle of our friends?

It’s not all chaos. The search, for the reason behind the fury, is the foundation of future progress.

Let our passage turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

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There is nothing permanent
except change.
Heraclitus

That’s a well worked, worn and weary cliché… nevertheless, it’s also the truth. It means that no matter what we’re doing today… we’ll be doing something different tomorrow. Forget the notion of catching up. Drop the idea that things will slow down. Let go of that Status Quo posing as a security blanket. Change is now and forever more, our constant, chaotic companion.

That’s scary. It means that our skills, those abilities that put food on the table… will become useless. It means that how we earn our living today… will not earn us a living tomorrow.

When we lose our ability to earn a living, we lose our competence, our sense of self worth… and our self esteem. Is it any wonder that change hurts?

But our most important skill isn’t something we learnt… it’s our innate ability to learn. Learning how to do something takes care of today… The ability to learn, takes care of our tomorrow’s.

In a world where nothing remains the same… learning to do new things, is our most crucial talent. Reading a magazine, attending a conference, going to night school… these are all investments in our future.

The ability to learn, rides the tides of change.
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If you’d like to hear a slightly different version of this as a 90 second ‘Keynote’ presentation? Click Here

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We are changing the world faster
than we can change ourselves,
and we are applying to the present
the habits of the past
Winston Churchill

The grand irony is that in learning something new, we have both accepted, and beaten, the challenge of the future. To learn something new, we have likely invested in an old, possibly outmoded, strategy. Each success under our belt, becomes a weight anchoring us to a particular way of doing things, even learning things. Each past achievement, a burden against future progress.

Play a game of chess against an opponent, and with each win based upon a favourite strategy, we become more vulnerable to a change in tactics. Winning in a proven way, is an obstacle to progress.

Our strength lies, not in past success, but in our ability to unshackle ourselves from both losing -and- winning strategies. The first is easy, the second rare. It requires flexibility, a keen sense of judgment and courage.

Flexibility – because a willingness to change, is a prerequisite of change.

Judgment – because knowing when to change, is an art, not a science.

Courage – because we could be wrong, and must accept risk in order to achieve success.

Nothing remains the same, not even the steps towards success.

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It better befits a man
to laugh at life,
than to lament over it.
Seneca

Lamentation and grief soon come easy in a world offering ample opportunity for practice. They can, if we let them, become the pre-packaged response to a world that doesn’t seem to care.

The worst tragedies of today, become the rarely told stories of tomorrow… if they are remembered at all. The individual tears, once so painful, are lost in the flood of repetition. Only laughter, defiance and survival in the face of the worst, become the tales we find worth telling.

Once we shed those mandatory tears to cover a tragic loss, there’s a strength acquired by the very act of putting them aside and stepping back onto the path of life. The weight of a grief no longer there, is too heavy to carry for a lifetime.

Truth is, neither tears nor laughter can change what is… except that laughter lifts us higher up, and grief drags us further down.

Every setback, resets the game. Our opponent is blind fate and chance. Our strengths are tenacity and determination. Cut the cards, dry the tears… the game’s afoot.

The really irony is, if we weren’t here, there’d be no need for grief.

Tears are our proof of existence. Our tears are the evidence of their passing. We cry… therefore we are.

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He who has never hoped
can never despair.
George Bernard Shaw

To speak frankly of hope, to one who has never had the need of it, is to utter sounds devoid of meaning. Hope is an enigma, beyond understanding, until experienced.

To speak frankly of hope, to one currently clinging to it for life and sustenance, is to commit an act of profanity and sacrilege. Hope is our final defense against despair. If it is to be taken down, let the one who raised it, be the one to lower it.

To speak frankly of hope, to one who has passed through its grip, is to share compassion beyond the power of mere words. Hope is a thin thread we hold in common. At the darkest hour, it raises us up, until either it breaks, or by chance, we achieve our heart’s desire and require it no longer.

To speak frankly of hope, is to admit that when reason and rationality tell us there is no hope, that is when hope is strongest, and needed most. Hope doesn’t guarantee success, it merely gives us time for fate to run its course.

Hope marks time while fate catches up.

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