At the beginning of this week, I was struck by the relevance of this question: “How do you adjust to an ever-changing situation where the ‘new normal’ is indefinite uncertainty?”
From my perspective, there is nothing unusual with an “ever-changing situation” nor with “indefinite uncertainty.” They are both part of the what we face in life all the time, even under the best of circumstances. Admittedly, we are not in the best of circumstances currently given the crises of Covid 19, the climate and corrupt leadership. So, that ups the stakes for those who prefer calm, constant and predictable. And we could all use a little more of those right now.
Know this. Change is inevitable. And, there are two kinds. Planned and unplanned. I have been harping on this for years and see no reason to stop now. When planned change can be anticipated there are specific steps to insure that the most effective and successful change is implemented. If we had responsible and accountable leaders who had a plan to deal with Covid 19 we would not have reached 210,000 deaths. Had we started taking steps to stem the tide of the climate crisis earlier we might not be trying desperately to find solutions to saving the planet. When change that is precipitated by external factors is not anticipated, the response may well need additional support and guidance in order to embrace change in the best possible, most creative ways.
Crisis management requires high level skills to get things under control and restore effective leadership. One prerequisite is intelligence, being smart about assessing the situation, analyzing the evidence that is reliable and developing solutions while moving forward. Standing still is not an option unless you don’t care. Effective leadership is good at solving problems and if leaders are very good they can anticipate what’s ahead in order to prevent things from getting worse. That has not happened with the current cast of characters. They have only made things worse.
So the question remains, “How do you adjust…..?” We have to change our tactics and strategies in order to deal with the changes that have been thrown in our path. “Keep calm and carry on” does not offer much comfort. There may be sufficient gathering forces at work to effect a much needed change in leadership. We have a choice to be involved or to opt out and let others carry the load of responsibility. We have a choice to make our voice heard or to keep silent. Silence condones the status quo. Those who are comfortable with how things are will resist change, count on it.
Rather than adjust to the changes and uncertainty, why not change what needs to be changed in order to make things better? Uncertainty is defined by not knowing and once you accept not knowing and doing your best anyway to make things better, you have adjusted. Things will not get better by themselves except perhaps in the natural world if we would just leave it alone to regenerate and quit interfering where we make things worse rather than better.’
The lesson in all of this for each of us is this, from Maya Angelou. “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Perhaps, as more than one person has suggested, we should consider rewriting The Serenity Prayer to something like this: “God grant us the serenity to change the things we cannot accept, the courage to challenge what needs changing in order to make wise choices for the future.”