JANUARY: Darrick’s Deliberations

Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change
by Jonathan Field

I turn on the radio and everyone’s talking about how they want change.
People want a better economy, but nobody’s willing to share in the financial hit it’ll take to get us back on track.
People want better schools, but nobody wants to rock the system, the unions, the teachers, the role of parents.
People want lower health care costs, but nobody wants to endure the changes to medicine, law and bureaucracy it’ll take to get it.
People want lower insurance, but nobody wants to adopt the changes in lifestyle and behavior that’ll drive it.
People want to be thinner, healthier and happier, but nobody wants to own actions it takes to get there.
People want lower gas prices, but nobody wants to radically shift their consumption patterns.
People want homeless brothers and sisters off the street, as long as it’s N.I.M.B.Y.
Everyone wants to own the result, nobody wants to own the process.
Especially when it involves change or disruption to the patterns around which they’ve grown accustomed.
A really smart entrepreneur once told me Maslow got it wrong.
The fundamental need is not survival, but rather the need to not have to endure change.
I laughed. But, increasingly, I’m finding truth in those words.
I often hear different definitions of leadership.
How about this…
A leader is someone who is willing to own not just the result, but the process.
What do you think?
This reading really struck me. We often talk about what we want, we don’t often talk about what we are willing to change to make it happen. We want circumstances to change, without changing ourselves. This doesn’t happen to all of us, all the time. But I guess that most of us can name an instance where we wanted things to get better, but did not want to do the work to make it happen. It is a pretty common behavior pattern.

But if we want change, we have to be willing and able to make change. For some, this is easier than others, but either we make the change we want, or we have to wait for others to make the change for us. And if we try to make the change, we may not be successful. But if we do not make the attempt, we cannot expect change to happen.

As we begin this new year, may we think about what we want to bring into our lives, and be willing to change to make it happen.