Change Is Inevitable, Progress Is Optional
For my money, Tony Robbins says a lot of things that resonate. This is one of them, and it’s true: “Today will be different from yesterday, and we have no idea what tomorrow will bring.” Oh sure, we know what’s on our schedule, what meetings we have, what appointments, what we anticipate.
But the biggest changes often come when we least expect them, on some idle Tuesday when we thought it would be just like every other one of the 52 Tuesdays this year.
The reality is that it’s usually bad things that happen fast. The kind of change we don’t like: learning about a disease, an accident, a national tragedy, a shooting. These events represent change—unexpected and inevitable.
Progress, on the other hand, takes time, is slow, and isn’t random. The random lottery winner may see a change overnight, but, as most of us know, this change in circumstance seldom works out well.
So, if change is inevitable and will keep coming at us, what changes can we make that lead to progress?
Here are three things to consider:
- Vision. Do you know where you’re going, and do those people who work with you see the same destination, outcome, and future? Persistence must be in pursuit of a clear vision so when you are thrown the inevitable curve balls, you can fix the problem and get back on the road to progress.
- Values. What do you hold dear, to be true, and unchanging, regardless of what happens? Freedom, integrity, faith, candor? An unwavering North Star is a must when your world is rocked. Change that makes you question your values can be a powerful test. And if we come through the change with a deeper sense of conviction about what we value, we are stronger for the test.
- Agility. What are the shock absorbers for your life? What philosophies, people, and habits do you have in place that allow you to bounce back? Think of it as a runner does: you have to stretch if you want to avoid the cramping and stiffness resulting from a long run. Meditation can help us to stay agile and mentally prepared for the big changes and daily bumps in the road.
Progress is only possible through change. Once you accept that change is a constant—that there will be changes thrust upon you as well as changes that are within your control—you can be ready.
A reminder this week of some of the truest words ever written on change: the Serenity Prayer.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.