We all know that life changes every moment, that the world is spinning faster than ever before and that our reality of work, family, friendships, professional challenges and other issues continue to change at a speed that humanity has never experienced before. We also know that “change is permanent” and that those who adapt best to change are the ones who survive. Surely we have heard so much about this word that sometimes it is presented as an opportunity, but in most cases as a snowball that comes with all the energy and threatens to pass over us.
Change is necessary, no doubt about it, but change what? change in what direction? To think that change for the sake of change is good is as absurd as those organizations that consider that everyone must be a leader because that is good, as if it were a law or a “must be”.
Many times, when people change, they start to get rid of what is good for them, of the elements that should remain. So the danger of change is to throw away what should never leave us and renew it simply because “it seems to be the right thing to do”. Therein lies the difference between change and adaptation to social contexts and our values. There are those people who depend on where they go and with whom they meet to change their opinions, political, religious, labor, social, sexual, etc. positions. The issue seems to be, in them, to be accepted. There are also those who stay at the other extreme, unwilling to change anything, arguing that “if the others like it, fine, and if they don’t, it’s their problem”. In any of these cases we would fall into positions that will hinder our way of adapting, surviving and being able to glimpse better solutions to the issues of our lives.
Change is something that happens in our body all the time, cells die and others appear. Our tastes change, our life goals, the places we live, the places we frequent, the people we work with or the personal challenges we set for ourselves, everything changes over time, but we are reacting to the changes in the context, or we are the ones who push that change in our own life.
There is a phrase I love from Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. The same is true for us as individuals. So, before change catches us by surprise, before it snowballs over us and we have to change as a desperate reaction in search of our own survival (of any kind, social, economic, family, work, etc.), it may be better to take a moment to think about what we want to change and what we want to remain, how we will work on ourselves to change what needs to be renewed, extirpated or enhanced?
Changing first allows us to innovate in organizations and markets, but do we apply it in our personal lives? and if we change ourselves before everything else changes, what would happen? what would change?
I remember when I was a child I heard several times the typical advice in a fight: “he who hits first wins”. Life has taught me that this is not always the case, but changing first could be helpful. It is true that being the one who always changes first has a cost, but probably the biggest cost is borne by the one who never changes on time.
Remember, before you change, make sure you are not throwing away the good in you. Personal innovation requires being clear about what remains the same, what does not change, what does not mutate. To then decide what we do want to improve, enhance and change in ourselves. But keep in mind that changing first can be a way to change better.