I remember a 1940’s radio program called “The Life of Riley” starring William Bendix who played Chester A. Riley, and he used to say, “What a revoltin’ development this has turned out to be!” Bugs Bunny may have picked it up as well. The phrase came to me this morning as I was thinking about how “revolting” so much seems to be in several arenas including the latest political morass. The meaning of revolting is two fold – one meaning is that which is disgusting and abhorrent and the other is to rise up in rebellion. If something is utterly unacceptable then maybe there is a peaceful alternative that transcends mere resistance and rebellion. Are we not now capable, as human beings, of finding ways to settle differences beyond “killing” the opposition?
What I want to offer are several ways to grow and change and evolve in our humanity rather than revolve, regurgitate and resuscitate. “The old has passed away, the new has come”….and we are restless until we find our place in sacred creation. In other words, until we can become part of the creative and re-creative process, it looks like we may continue to destroy and self-destruct. On the other hand, there are many opportunities to choose to care about.who we are and what we do such that we must shift the paradigm or be left behind.
So, where to begin and how? This assumes you already know why. You begin right where you are with whatever it is that you are doing, right now, today, in this place with those who you know, with whom you live, with whom you work. You might start first with those whom you love and who love you as they are the closest in so many ways. Share something of value than has such deep meaning for you that you want those closest to you to be part of that feeling and part of the experience. Shared values, shared vision, shared purpose become stronger, more visible, more powerful when the collective consciousness is at work. Likewise, with those whom you work. We invest a lot of time, energy and thought with others in the workplace. Make it count by making it more visible and more accessible to others.
Some techniques? Plan the change you want to see and become the change you want to be. Do not be held back by convention or convenience. Discover the obstacles, define the challenges, and then invent, innovate and implement the plan. Invite others to participate. One of the first lessons in scuba diving is to plan the dive and dive the plan. It’s the same for flying an airplane and filing a flight plan. There are very good reasons for those kinds of plans and you should already know what they are and why they exist and how they work. Suffice to say that here on terra firma, it’s a little easier sometimes to tweak the plans and not lose your way. Certain adjustments and changes along the way because of prevailing conditions may be necessary!
Perseverance pays off, eventually. There are times when patience and perseverance are helpful, even necessary but perhaps not sufficient ingredients in the process of change. There are times when intervention may be indicated. There may come that moment when the sense is that we cannot wait any longer and some kind of action is needed. One easily available illustration is in the world of medicine. A doctor may say, try this and let’s see what happens. Or the diagnosis may reveal that in fact, surgery is necessary in order to eliminate something that is causing the problem. There’s a question worth pursuing. What can we eliminate that is impeding progress and what can we do that will increase good health and more effective functioning?
Dan Pink in his FLIP manifesto has this to offer: “The key insight of both Peters and Collins is that we spend too much time on addition and not nearly enough on subtraction. Yet it’s only by taking away what doesn’t matter that allows us to reveal what does matter. That’s why a couple of years ago I began using a hybrid of the Peters and Collins techniques—a combo of a to don’t and stop-doing list. I revisit the list more than once a year, but I don’t craft a new one every day. Instead,
I post it on the wall next to my desk where it’s always in view and revise it when circumstances demand.” When we eliminate that which is counterproductive we can make space for that which is more productive, more satisfying and more rewarding.
Finally, try to figure out ways in which you are evolving and with the help of others, how you might help another person or organization evolve, grow and change. It’s not always easy but it is very worthwhile, good work. Having been a professional change agent for most of my 50 year career, I can say unequivocally, there has been a tremendous amount of satisfaction in hanging around to see the results.