It’s tempting and understandable to concentrate on trying to manage change. After all, we are constantly experiencing change, and attempting to manage it is often unavoidable. But never lose sight of the importance of working on what to change.
As Seth Godin reminds us:
“For too long, there have been lousy schools, inequitable opportunity and the pain of grinding poverty. There have always been innocent people in prison and unheard voices in need of our help. There has long been graft and inefficiency and the tragedy of preventable illness and discomfort.
But we’ve too often turned away from those issues, from the things we’re accustomed to, because they appear to be the same as they were. The status quo is there because we’ve accepted it. We might have worked hard on some of the issues, but it seems impossible to be on our toes about all of them, all of the time.”
—Living on the delta, Seth Godin
We can choose to accept the status quo. “Yes, there’s injustice and suffering. But there’s so much of it. It’s overwhelming. I’m spending so much of my time trying to deal with the change I experience daily in my life and work. What else can I do?”
There’s no blame in doing what you need to do to manage the change in your life. For some, this is a full-time job. (For some, sadly, it’s an impossible job.) And, sometimes, that’s all we have the time and energy to do.
Changing the status quo, rather than managing it
However, many do have discretionary time and energy to direct towards making a difference to an unjust or insufferable status quo. I have that privilege. We can choose to spend time working to make things better.
The first step is to figure out what to work on.
And the second is to do the work.
As Seth concludes: “The problem with living on the delta is that as we strap into a rollercoaster of external change, we forget to work on the problems we have the opportunity to improve.”
Never lose sight of the importance of working on what to change. Because figuring out what’s important to change, and then doing the work, is how vital change happens in this world.
How do you facilitate change? In this occasional series, we explore various aspects of facilitating individual and group change.