Friday, January 4, 2013


Thames River, London, England

As a trained Industrial Engineer, one of the primary functions in most of my job descriptions over a forty year business career was that of a change agent. It wasn’t long before I realized that most folks don’t want to move out of their comfort zones and will actively resist change. One of the classic reasons not to change is that “we’ve always done it that way ”—like continuing to make buggy whips after the world has moved on to automobiles. Or continuing to make full fashion women’s hosiery after the world had moved on to panty hose which indirectly created the outlet shopping malls of America, but that’s another story. I had the opportunity to change and observe human behavior for many years. It’s been said that the only constant in this world and life is change—both a paradoxical and eternal truth. Some of the best advice I ever learned was that since change is so inevitable, it’s best to resign yourself to embrace change rather than fight or resist it. That makes our life journey much more tolerable and interesting anyway.

So I found a recent study of 19,000 participants quite interesting when the published results concluded that people tend to picture themselves in the future much as they are today, discounting how they’ve changed over time. As an example, a twenty year old is generally unable to believe the appeal of a tattoo will wear off some day. Also, folks revealed that in ten years they would probably pay a premium price for tickets to a band they presently like versus much less for a band they liked ten years ago. That little exercise confirmed to the participants that they had indeed changed, but showed that they weren’t planning on as much change in the future!

I’ve always liked the Rick Warren definition of the primary human job description which is to grow our character. That inevitably involves a constant evolution, and sometimes a revolution, of change in our life--a change that we should welcome and nurture all of our lives. As we embark on another trip around the sun in 2013, it’s important to reflect on the notion that the sun never rises on the same world and you can never journey on the same river twice, for by then both you and the river have changed.

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