The Only Constant is Change
More than two millenniums have passed since Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher, made a bold statement. It was during the Greco-Roman times when predominantly men were sharing their insights and wisdom with the rest of the world. There were literally hundreds of philosophers seeking intellectual curiosity, and providing their own theories of life, the universe, and happiness.
Each of these men challenged traditional thought process, and saw meaning in reflective thought and purposeful behaviors. Not all of their thoughts and words were widely accepted, however, I like to think that they had moments of brilliance in their studies. Heraclitus made his mark with the statement, “The only constant is change.” Change is a certainty – apparently so are death and taxes in the modern era!
So, I must ask the questions. If change is constant, then why in the hell is society constantly trying to catch up? Or, why is society resisting change? Wouldn’t it benefit everyone to change and adapt? I don’t believe it would be a good thing for people to constantly change and evolve, although, the society we live in needs to be better at not just accepting change, but embracing it.
You are surrounded by change. Technology is changing the way you live, work, cook, consume, watch, listen, communicate, speak, and play. Did you ever stop to think that the technology of today is going to be old technology tomorrow? Probably not. It’s because the only change that you likely notice, is the change that directly affects you. Whether you are in agreement or disagreement with the change, if it influences how you go about your daily life, and ultimately the people that you surround yourself with.
Where is Change Happening the Most?
I have spent some time researching this question, and there is no doubt that our world is experiencing radical growth and change on a global scale. Some countries are what seems to be light years ahead of others in development, industry, and infrastructure with booming economies. Developing countries may lag further behind, but are now seeing technology advances that are connecting them to a previously unknown world.
Change is occurring in every nook and cranny, and technology is driving a good majority of this evolution. But, who is driving it?
The Millennials. People in the age range of 18-34. This demographic accounts for 75 million people around the world. And it is predicted that in the year 2025, that 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of the Millennials. Therefore, in ten years, peopled ages 28-44 will account for three-quarters of the people you work with.
Now, ask the question again – where is change happening the most? Given the statistics, change is occurring more commonly in the workplace than any other environment you may find yourself. These young leaders, are the future of our global economy. If you want things to be better in ten years, then embrace the young talent that is present. Embrace it, learn from it, and grow from it.
Easier said than done.
Because it directly affects how the workplace has historically operated. It disrupts the notion that what was always done is still going to work today. New concepts and ideas in the workplace are necessary in order to be sustainable in a changing environment – to ‘keep up with the times’.
It makes sense that the Baby Boomer generation is resistant to change. They have lived a life where working 9-5 was the norm; if it doesn’t get done today, then tomorrow will suffice; what they do and how they work is how they were taught; and working from the office is where most work gets complete.
Ask a Millennial where they operate and work best, and I would venture to say that an office is not the place. Millennials have aged in a time when immediate gratification has always been the push of a button away, and change has not stopped, so they are prepared to embrace it, and contribute to making change happen. Instead of thinking, “this is how it’s always been done”, our future generation of leaders is thinking, “how in the hell can I make this easier”.
Why the Resistance?
One could surmise why there is resistance to change – regardless of the environment. My experiences have shown me that there is resistance to change because it’s easier. Easier how?
- It has always been done a certain way.
- It’s easier to find a reason not to do something than to do it.
- It requires more work and effort than was previously given.
- Change could result in a failed attempt.
- There is a fear of what might happen – good or bad.
- Uncertainty in the results.
- It requires risk.
- No one else is doing it.
- Comfort and complacency
- No desire to grow.
Two-thousand years later and Heraclitus’ words still ring true. If anything, change is occurring at a faster rate than ever before. Instead of being stubborn and hesitant to accept, it needs to be viewed as a positive opportunity for growth. The status-quo is no longer the norm. Traditional approaches and methodologies are being challenged, and newer innovating ideas are winning the battle – not because they are being forced, but because they are required in a changing global landscape environment.
But remember, it’s not just the workplace that is changing. Have you been told by the doctor that you need to lose a few pounds, however you are resistant to change your lifestyle to do so? Did your new college professor warn you that wouldn’t be able to skate through her class as you once did in high school? If your baseball coach tells gives you a suggestion to improve your swing, but you refuse to make the change, how much longer will you be successful?
This ‘movement’ of change isn’t stopping, it’s only accelerating and gaining speed – at home, work, school, and in life. There are two choices and one decision to make – jump on board and soar to new heights, or wait for it to pass and be left in the dust. You just might be surprised where it takes you, what you learn from it, and how you grow as a result.