We’re the one species in charge of our own evolution. Each of us has the unique ability to look at changing circumstances and predict future realities. We can change our thinking and behavior by force of will. Oddly as uniquely human and special as this trait is we seem to have the perfect counterbalance in denial.
When confronted with radical change or difficult circumstances most folks refuse to evolve. They would rather die in their comfort zone than change. Two days ago I heard that a manager I’ve known for a dozen years was let go. We tried for ten years to convince him that his industry was evolving and if he didn’t change with it his future was bleak. His response was always the same. “This is a temporary flux. I’ll wait until things get back to normal.”
Things never do get back to normal except in one important way. The “normal” of life is change. It is a constant and unstoppable force that affects us all. The reality of our time is the pace of change is speeding up. If your response to impending change is to deny its real importance or impact on you then you have given up one of the most important gifts that came with your humanity. It seems odd that we created a myth about ostriches burying their heads in the sand when faced with fear (they don’t) when we’re the ones that do.
They taught me in psychology that the strongest motivator was survival. After watching people for a few years I disagree. I think people are more motivated by getting by in the moment. We refuse to tackle the hard decisions in the moments when we can positively impact our future. We would rather risk our careers, marriages, or health than evolve in ways that make sense.
Written by: Steve Sherwood