Change is the only constant, yet it is feared the most.
Story: Vijay Eswaran
There’s a story about the man on a burning platform that was made popular by a memo sent in 2011 by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. In it, he describes an incident where an oil platform in the North Sea caught fire. An engineer found himself surrounded by flames and choking on the smoke high up on the platform. All he could see beneath him were the dark, freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. If he jumped, it was a 30-meter drop that could lead to potential death. But if he stayed, it was certain death in the fire. He jumped, miraculously survived the fall, and was rescued.
Many of us need a burning platform at some point in our life. Sometimes we are fortunate, and life gives us one and it becomes our turning point. Rarely, if ever, do we actually go look for it.
Most people resist change in their life. It’s like a chain that has them tethered to the past, to their fears, doubts, and insecurities, heavy chains that won’t let them move forward.
Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful, it is threatening because it means things could get worse. To the hopeful, it is encouraging. It means things could get better. To the confident, it is inspiring.
The late Robert F. Kennedy summed it up very well, “Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator and change has its enemies.”
In my book “Two Minutes from the Abyss,” I discuss the subject of change in greater detail. Here are the five major aspects of change.
1. Change begins from within
We have the power to change our lives; we do not have the power to change others. When we change, it changes everything. And in doing so, as Gandhi once said, we truly can be the change we want to see in the world. Change your environment and you can change the outcome. It will be an uphill task, but that’s what makes it worthwhile.
2. Change has an overlapping effect
Changes do not occur in one cycle. It takes many cycles for real change to be affected. One set of changes lead to another.
A friend and I once were discussing the topic of change while sitting by a rocky outcrop by the sea watching the waves crash against the rocks. As she was explaining her point of view, she turned to the crashing waves and pointed out that each wave crashing into the rocks was a metaphor for change.
I think that’s perhaps the most powerful description of the impact of change I’ve heard. One wave does not do it all. The bigger the change, the greater the impact on the challenge.
3. Change invariably attracts change
Change has a vibrational effect. With every change you make, you evolve into a new person. The degree of change intensifies as you go through the process of changing. Other people pick up on the energy you exude. Positive energy attracts positive changes and positive people, just as negative energy does the opposite.
4. The price of change is pain
All change comes at a price. And that’s perhaps why most people flee change, as they are not prepared to pay the price. They view change with fear. Change does not eradicate fear, but it has the power to harness fear into excitement and energy. The same fear that holds some people back drives others to climb the highest mountains, plunge to the depths of the oceans, go bungee jumping or skydiving, or even ride a roller coaster. The price is simply mastering the fear. The euphoria of conquering fear is the most wonderful thing one can experience on the journey to change.
5. Some things should never change
This may seem ironic given the topic, but some things are simply not meant to change. The values that allow us to distinguish between right and wrong must remain constant throughout our life. They will certainly evolve over time and with experience, but the fundamental basis of what is good and right rarely ever changes.
Doing bad or being bad is just simply bad. Whether you pull the wings off a butterfly, or chop a man with a machete, violence is bad. Violence cannot and should not evolve from change. Hence, knowing the nature of your change is fundamentally important.
About the author
Vijay Eswaran is a successful entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and philanthropist and the author of the best-selling book “In the Sphere of Silence.” An economist by training, he is the founder of a multimillion-dollar global business His new book “Two Minutes from the Abyss,” published by Networking Times Press, is available as an eBook on Amazon.