Why not treat “Change” as empowering?

Posted on January 31, 2010 in YKA Editorials

Akshat Rathi:

Since the Obama campaign, the word ‘change’ has become ubiquitous. Today it is treated synonymous to ‘change for the better’. This optimism is exactly what the world needs right now. There are many such campaigns out there which are trying to empower the people to change. Yes, may be there is a need to ‘empower’ someone to change because it is inherently human to oppose change. Change challenges the capacity of a human being to adjust to new people, things and situations. Evolutionarily speaking, it possibly stems from the fact that change can be risky for the survival of the species. But we aren’t apes anymore, who only want to procreate and advance their race genetically. We are an intellectually evolved superior species with a whole different set of aims which are not quite supported by our instincts. Opposing change is one of the characteristics of our lizard brain. If change is forced upon us, we tend to accept it sooner, otherwise our mind keeps on baffling us with the resistance game.

Is there something that can be done about it? Can change be treated as empowering? Well, I think the roles can be reversed and instead of needing power to change, we can draw power from change. It’s not hard to come up with a list of pros or cons in any situation. When that is done, how about making a list of things that will be gained from this change. Remember, those are also the things that will be lost if this change is not accepted. Doing a gain v/s pain analysis, it can surely be rationalized whether the proposed change is advantageous. If the answer is in affirmative then there it is, our winner. The battle against the resistance has been won. The power that drove this change came from the rationalising towards the drive to gain the things that this change offered.

Of course, there would be times when we are stranded in the murkiness of ambiguities. Rather plausible a time to draw the personal experience card (the positive ones of course). I have gained a lot from change and found it to be immensely pleasurable at many levels. This is of course thinking back and connecting the dots. Yet, I was happy to undergo the change, however hard it seemed. It gives me hope when I look at the situations I had been in and the way they have emerged now. If that doesn’t seem like the card you can play, then look at successful people around you. Let us look at the biggest names, Bill Gates & Steve Jobs. Both speak about change as the catalyst of their innovations and eventual success. There is a lot more of such inspiring stories which all begin with ‘change’. Change is feared, and perhaps rightly so. But a new perspective on it can lead to a new addition to your self-manipulation toolbox. Why not, then, treat change as empowering?

The writer is the London correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz. He is also the Oxford University Ambassador for the Voice of Young Science, a Sense about Science initiative.