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Change Your Attitude

I donít particularly like change, in my personal or professional life. I find that that it is often irritating, frustrating and takes a lot of my precious time to absorb. But I have discovered that not only is change inevitable it is not always a bad thing. In fact many of the changes that have happened in my life have improved the quality of my life.

Brian W. Pascal
I have also tried to work hard on my attitude towards change because while we cannot always avoid change or prevent it from happening we can choose to change our attitude about it. Thatís because there are only two real choices about how to handle change. We can accept the change or we can resist it. Neither option will actually affect the situation that is occurring or about to occur, but resistance to change can certainly add a lot of time and effort to dealing with the situation. What I have discovered is that it takes a lot of energy to resist change and sometimes thereís a lot of pain as well. Being someone with a low resistance to pain I have been forced to move more quickly to lower my barriers to change.

The changes to the modern workplace that have taken place over the last thirty or forty years are remarkable and mind boggling. I am old enough to remember the introduction of mainframe computers and blinking monitors that scared the bejeezus out of most of the staff in the office where I worked. It felt like we had landed on another planet. Our fear was real and palpable. Then they told us that we would all have to learn this new foreign language to operate our own mini version of the monster in the back room. Some in that office swore that they would never accept this change and that maybe this new computer fad would fade in a few years. Those who resisted that particular change were never going to make it in the new working world that lay ahead.

Having survived the introduction of the personal computer and later the Internet I knew that I had no choice but to develop a new strategy for dealing with change. My goal now is to get to the acceptance of change faster. That doesnít mean I have to like the change, or even agree with it, but the longer it takes the more pain I feel. I also know that my energy could be much better and more productively spent if I can just find a way to get into the flow of change as quickly as I can. The master of organizational development, W. Edwards Deming once said ďIt is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.Ē I would prefer to be a survivor.

Now that I recognize the power of change I am trying to harness it in my own life and work. And if that doesnít work I am trying to accept that some things just wonít change.
I like what the great American poetess, Maya Angelou says about change. She says, ďIf you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.Ē So when I come upon a problem I try and change it. If that doesnít work I do try and change my attitude about it.

Think about it. There are a million things that we canít change from the price of gasoline to the weather to the behaviour of our nearly adult children. Acceptance of change and the acceptance that some things will never change does make me feel better and thatís the whole point of adopting a new change attitude.

I may never be able to adopt Mahatma Gandhiís vision to ďbe the change you wish to see in the world" but I can learn to adapt and live with change to the best of my ability. And if I canít reach this lofty goal and I really, really dislike the change that is happening around me I can do one more thing that, even if it doesnít make it easier for me, it may improve the lives of those around me. I can keep my mouth shut about the many reasons why I donít like that particular change. I may not like it but itís going to happen anyway and after a while despite myself I actually find myself going along with the change anyways.


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