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We people are really quite idealistic.  We want it…we want it all…and we want it as soon as possible.  We want change, and we want it now.  We want “better” and we want it to be ALL better.  We struggle with the pace and the progress of change and it’s hard for us to settle for less than what we wanted.   Not everyone is this way but if you are this far along in reading this post chances are, you are!

I work with church people.  I cannot get over the quality of these people.  Highly skilled, highly passionate, highly motivated.  And also highly idealistic.  They have huge hopes for their present reality and ultimately the world.  Unfortunately, the reality of their world is less than their ideal which leads to dismay, frustration, anger, discouragement even despair.  It’s not a cycle–it’s a predictable curve. 

My thinking on this? 

1. change is good.  It really is.  The pace and direction of change is debatable, but the idea is.  I like my ipod much better than my 8 track.   What change are you looking for?  Clarity is really important here. 

2.  change is hard.  It really is.   Any diet can work if you follow it.  The difficulty isn’t the diet regimen it’s the personal change needed to follow the diet regimen.   Are you prepared to follow the path  to your change?  Consistently?  Persistently?

3.  change is possible.  It really is.  But not in huge gargantuan terms.  The most efficient approach to change is done in the micro rather than the macro.  Political revolutions are okay to read about in history books but trust me, revolutions are no fun to the people involved in living and dying through them.   If somebody or something has to die in order to effect your change, think about it a little longer.  Baby steps, baby steps. 

4.  change involves losing something as well as gaining something.  When people lose something unless it has been egregious and vexatious, then usually there is some resistance even grief in the loss.  (Losing the beater Chevy for a new one notwithstanding).  Your freedom might be at the expense of someone else who cares deeply about the way things were.  Think about that one.  In your change, who pays the price of giving something up?   What price are they paying?

5.  Most people are open to progress, as long as they see it as progress.  So, what’s the “progress” of this change?  If change is simply for the sake of change, trust me, people won’t rush to it.  Some will, but not all.  And you’ll be discouraged by so many people who sustain the status quo.  But until they are convinced that new is better…why should they adopt what you are suggesting?

6.  Change is not usually “thought through” and then acted upon, it’s more often “experienced” then thought about it.  It’s the old “try it, you’ll like it approach”.  After people have tasted, quite often they say “that was good” (or not).    Figure out what they can swallow in the change and let them taste it before switching everything and telling them to “like it or lump it”.  Boy, I struggle when people pull the rug out from under me and then tell me,”suck it up, it’s the new reality”.

7.  Change is best caught when “modelled”.  Was it Ghandi that encouraged us to “be the change we are seeking?”  Who else will model it with us?  Getting support early is essential.  People will follow but they will follow key others.  (Ralph Nader had some good ideas but never got elected to the presidency). 

8.  Change is gradual.  I used to note growth in our kids by the shortness of their pants.  I never really noticed it any other way.  The annual line on the door frame was another measuring point.  Looking back over family photos was another way.  But to be honest, I had to check over time to see things changing.  (Am I using too hot a water temperature in my laundry because trust me, my t-shirts are shrinking and not fitting me nearly as well over the last few years).    You can’t get much done by tomorrow, but you can get a lot accomplished over the next 5 years if you start something today…and keep at it. 

9.  Too much change is really destructive as well as disruptive.  I have a friend who wants to change “everything”.  Throw it out, blow it up, get rid of it.   He has a point.  He is seeing something but to be honest with you, he’s hard to work with.    We can’t handle the nuclear winter he suggests in order to clear the land for the future. 

10.  you fill in this one…what do you know about changing the world one step at a time?