November 10, 2009
The world is not the same now...as it was when you read the first seven words of this sentence. That is change today. Almost twenty-five hundred years ago the Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote that you can't dip your toes into the same river twice.
Change was then, and change is now. What's the difference? People are basically the same, but the world is a different place. And the world will be a different place tomorrow too. What has happened? Change has changed!
Realistically, people haven't changed for thousands of years. They have the same basic needs and wants that they've had for centuries. Certain parts of the world and the people who inhabit it are the same today as several thousand years ago. What then is different? Our society, our culture, our world as we know it has changed. It has shrunk both figuratively and dramatically. It has grown both technologically and scientifically.
Transportation, communication, information and automation have caused a transformation of our nation. It is difficult, if not impossible to control the way our world is changing. What then can we change? What can we control? Ourselves.
The human side of change is the true point of beginning for change that is far reaching and long lasting. Nations may change their name, their political structure, their leadership and their economy. Yet without the change of the people it will be only temporary.
Organizations or companies may restructure, downsize or even “right size”, yet without the people within changing it will be cosmetic and short term at best. Technology may shorten the time you need to perform most of your daily tasks and speed up your transportation, communication and information, yet without people accepting and adapting to these changes they will not really improve your lifestyle.
If you're going to live in this society, more importantly, if you're going to thrive in this information age you must learn new and vitally important skills. You must take on a new and adventurous attitude that will keep you exploring, curious, hungry for knowledge and meek enough to learn from anyone around you.
Our forefathers who settled this country learned to accept and adapt to its challenges. They knew it was a matter of life or death to be able to adapt to the new environment that they faced. We too must acquire the understanding and learn and practice the needed skills to act with confidence in this warp-speed changing society in which we live.
What do we need to understand? What new skills do we need to acquire and practice?
It begins with learning and more learning and making learning our ‘fourth meal’ of the day, everyday. If we are to adapt to the very rapid pace of life, we must learn how to learn faster and in turn teach others how to learn as well. In that disciplined practice we will have the potential of learning how to live with the change of change.