I thought of ending this piece by trying to come up with a really creative way of using "change" that would be funny, inspiring, and thought-provoking, but I changed my mind.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Change: make or become different, alter in terms of, take or use another instead of, move from one to another, give up (something) in exchange for something else, remove (something dirty or faulty) and replace it with another of the same kind.
Synonyms: alter, make/become different, adjust, adapt, amend, modify, revise, refine;
Noun: the act or instance of making or becoming different.
I’ve been noticing recently how much humans love the word “change”. We use it all the time, in many different situations. We are going to “change” our lives. We are going to “change” our diets. We are going to “change” the world. I’m struck by how much the word is used…maybe over-used. Here are some of the types of “change” I have come across:
Time for Change
Momentum for Change
Change your Life (yeah, but how?)
Change is in the Air (really, can you smell it?)
Developmental Change (what, one step at a time?)
Transformational Change (doesn’t this really just mean “change-change”?)
Temporary Change (if it’s temporary, why change it?)
Permanent Change (well, make up your mind!)
Planned vs. Emergent Change (oooooo, that’s deep.)
Change.org (yeah, right.)
Episodic vs. Continuous Change
Incremental and Core Change
Performance Change (I’ve been trying to do this for years!)
Change in Leadership (A really popular one.)
Change in Attitude (You need to change your attitude, young man.)
Thought Change (aren’t there police for that?)
Social Change (what, as opposed to anti-social change?)
Biological Change (I won’t even go there.)
Change your mind
Change the baby (you mean you don't like this one?)
There are untold numbers of books with “change” in the title. Here are a few:
“How to Change Things When Things Are Hard”
“Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change”
“Change Management Masterclass”
“Influencer: The Power To Change Anything”
“The Truth About Thriving in Change”
“Immunity to Change”
“Making Sense of Change Management”
“The Heart of Change”
“Change is Here To Stay”
You might be amazed at how many songs are titled, simply “change”:
Change, by Taylor Swift
Change, by Blind Melon
Change, by Banks
Change, by Tracy Chapman
Change, by Tears for Fears
Change, by Bleach
Change, by Poets of the Fall
Change, by Carrie Underwood
Change Your Life, by Iggy Azaela
Change (In the House of Flies), by Deftones
Change Your Life, by Little Mix
Be the Change, by MC Yogi
Never Change, by Denace
So after all this change in the world, why are we still looking to change things? Why haven’t we perfected things, yet? Well, I’ve been thinking (for a change) and come to realize that all this talk of change is just that: talk. Change is an abstract term; it gives us no guidance about who, what, where, when, and how to change.
“Change your life.”
Sounds good, but exactly how do I do that? What change do you want me to make? What are the steps?
And here is where they get us. They don’t tell us. They just prod us to make a change.
“He’ll bring Illinois the change it needs”
What change? A change in taxes? A change in interest rates? A change in our paycheck? To what change are they referring? A change in the hour and a half it takes to get to O’Hare Airport? A change to your status when you become governor?
Why do we allow them to get away with it?
“Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.”
Thank you, Margaret. That’s a great quote, and I believe you. But give me something to work with, here. HOW do I change the world?
I guess we’re going to have to ask them, from now on. When a politician says “I’m for change”, we must ask, “Exactly what change are you referring to? What changes are you going to make? (and please be specific)”
When Principal Skinner tells me to “change my attitude”, I gotta’ ask him how I do that? What specifically about my attitude and thinking needs to change?
When Ford or General Motors says they have made “changes for the better”, they better tell me what those changes are and how they came into being. How do I know they are changes for the better unless they explain them to me in precise detail.
I am certain by now that you have picked up on my disdain for the ways in which people use the word “change”. Start paying attention to how many times a day you read or hear the word “change”. I bet it will blow you away how often it’s thrown around. It’s so easy to say, “We need a change”. It’s easy to say, and it promises nothing. So please stop using “change” and replace (change?) it with specific things we need to change. And make them meaningful. I can change my socks, but is that a life change?
Recognizing a problem is halfway to solving it. So let’s start recognizing the way people manipulate us by promising us “change”.
Finally, here are some quotes from some well-known people. Ask yourself after each quote, exactly what are they saying?
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.
There is nothing permanent except change.
Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.
Change brings opportunity.
For changes to be of any true value, they've got to be lasting and consistent.