Monday, June 7, 2010

How to Stay Positive in a Changing Environment

With some recent negativity circulating around the call center, a contest has been created to try to lighten up the mood, or something. The winner gets 2 tickets to Sea World. Rhiis and I put our heads together and this is what we came up with. You think it's a winner?

The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus once acknowledged that "nothing endures but change". Life itself, stripped to its fundamental root, is an infinite series of transformations and metamorphoses; a process that is indifferent to human convenience or preference. However, it is human nature to resist the relentless onslaught of change, and to create a sanctuary of stability and predictability for our own psychological comfort. Despite our need for repetition and pattern, does predictability really benefit us as much as embracing transformation could? When asked how one should stay positive in a changing environment, it is important to note the negative connotation attached to the word "change" in such a question. Our negative attitude towards transformation is apparent between the lines of the language we use to discuss it. Imagining a world without change, there would be no true learning experiences, adventure, risk, or opportunities for growth. There would be no place for personal reward or setting goals. Motivation to live a meaningful life would vanish because there would be no personal circumstances available for comparison. We would be forced to accept that what we have is what always will be - a fatalistic attitude entirely against the American spirit and contrary to the concept of capitalism. Change is the great perspective-giver, for every end is a new beginning, and every beginning an end.

In nature, society, and in business, the true key to success is adaptation. The world operates by a "survival of the fittest" mentality and those who are most resistant to change, whether personally or environmentally, are the first to be left behind in the new world. It is the people who embrace and actively engage in transformation who are the forerunners of innovation and positive development. Had Benjamin Franklin been averse to change, we might now be living without the luxuries of electricity, prescription lenses, and libraries. In fact, we owe the foundation of the United States of America to a group of people who believed that change can create a better world. They understood that change will not be easy, but that it is always necessary. While our circumstances are, more often than not, the product of our own choices, the attitudes that we carry determine our personal outcomes. By remaining positive and open towards new circumstances and developments, we are better equipped, psychologically, to deal with the challenges that change may bring. As the saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention."

The greatest obstacle in remaining positive and open towards new developments is withstanding the endless barrage of negativity from the cultural mindset that we have been born into. This mindset has been conditioned to treat change with suspicion and fear, and to cling steadfastly to time-worn tradition no matter how meaningless and non-progressive that tradition may be. For the sake of progress, it is imperative to remain innovative in your own thought. You proactively formulate the way you will perceive and react to change rather than reactively accepting the picture that society has painted.

To stay positive in a changing environment, it is important to focus on what we do have and do value, rather than what we may or may not have and what we fear. Above all, embrace challenge. Find a way to redefine your value as an individual in the newly forming environment or context. By doing this, you assert your worth as an individual, someone who isn't valuable in only one set of circumstances but one who can adapt and be versatile. Behind every cloud is a silver lining. To truly stay positive in a changing environment, we must change the way we perceive change.