CHANGE

I am not the same person who finished writing this sentence, as I was when I began it.

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Change is often subtle and deceptive. Not to say, gradual. A child becomes an adult over a number of years, without there appearing to be any discernible change, moment by moment. A year on, and he may well still be the same little boy who plays Action Man; but 10 years from now, he may be playing Action Man for real; in Afghanistan or Iraq.

And change happens even if you are completely resistant to it. You will become ever so slightly more intransigent and tense, moment by moment. A year from now, there may not appear to be any change in your circumstances; but 10 years from now, you may be suffering from a debilitating, stress-related illness. Big change.

Embrace change. You can fight it as much as you want, but you will be fighting a losing battle, because it is going to happen, regardless.

The battle is lost: accept it and move on.

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Change is that moment of, “Damn! Just when I was getting comfortable …” The fact that circumstances are ever-changing, no question, that can be tough. It certainly is easier to address things from the past, from the stance, “Phew. That is all taken care of, so I don’t have to worry about it.”

If you go strictly on what happened in the past, you have all the information that you need to process. You know exactly how to deal with things. Convenient, comfortable, easy. Why factor something else into the equation?

Oh the anxiety and stress of having to take on board some new information, which might just force you to throw all of your pre-conceptions away; which might just force you to reconsider what you took for granted, and held as God’s own truth..

But the reality is that, at every moment, there is always something new.

The issue of immigration is a classic example. In Britain, for instance, there is a tendency amongst many to consider, “This is our way of life. And a pox on anyone who tries to change it.”The influx of more and more people into Britain from all over the world, is going to leave the concept of Britishness increasingly in flux.

If you derive your entire identity from your nationality, that sense of unfamiliarity and uncertainty is uncomfortable, bordering on unbearable. “Well, just who the hell am I?”

If there is one thing that many people cannot stand it is not knowing exactly who they are. Where they were walking the ground with surety in their step, now they may well begin to stumble. “What’s next? I don’t know! Aaargggghhhhh …”

And if they weren’t so hostile and unwelcoming, the one who is unfamiliar might have been only too glad to help them up. Because they are going through the exact same process: of trying to make sense of their changing circumstances.

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Human beings are creatures of habit: should they deal with something successfully once they have a tendency to want to do so again and again. Well, it worked then, so it should work now, as well.

If only it worked now

I will give you an example from my own life. I used to enjoy getting drunk because it got rid of my inhibitions. Suddenly, I felt more confident, and sure of myself, around the opposite sex. That approach worked, more or less, for three or four years. Until the recognition dawned: “You cannot spend the rest of your life relying on alcohol to be successful with women.”

Let’s just say that there are more than a few times when I will reminisce about the “good old days”. And wish that it was like that now. And, all the while, as I paint a rosy picture of the past, as I bemoan the fact that it is no longer like that, I am not present to the opportunities that are available right now.

And, as I recognise this, I will think to myself, “Stuff that! Well, it worked back then, so it should work now as well, damn it! … If only it worked now …” All of which is an illusion I have created to entertain and amuse myself – once I see it for what it is. In realising that it is an illusion, it is gone …

The irony is this: if we look at our lives, there are so many things we would like to change about ourselves. And, if we didn’t fight the process, if we didn’t hold on so forcefully to the certainties of the past, maybe they would start to change.

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Let’s take the example of the music industry to put another spin on this.

The music industry is in chaos, right now. Part of the reason for this is that too many people within the industry wish that things were as they used to be: namely, that if people wanted to own music they would have to buy it from a record company.

There is an unwillingness throughout the industry to face up to the changing reality: that so long as the internet is there, people will download music for free; that you can try to police it as much as you want, and people will download music for free.

The music industry is also thriving like never before. There have never been so many opportunities for performers and promoters alike – for those who are tuned into them, anyway. Those who fight the process will likely miss whatever opportunities there are, as their attention will be elsewhere: on everything that’s wrong.

The reality for the music business, as for everything else in life, is simply this: adapt or die. Because no matter how hard you try, change will not wait for you.

© Phillip A. Klein March 2008

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 4:54 pm  Leave a Comment