The Change Equation – A Catalyst for Movement

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
Anatole France

I have been reading and re-reading the comments to The Change Equation: The Beginning.  My deepest thanks goes to all those in our brilliant and discerning blogger community who joined the dialogue.  Your humour, joy and wisdom have added so much to this discussion and to my personal understanding. It appears that the change equation will have a series of iterations.

One thing is certain; or as certain as it can be in a world of uncertainty.   We connect change with movement, whether it be in symbolic or tangible form.  Moving from “one chair to another”, carrying “emotional baggage” and “losing our way” are iconic representations of a shift in place or space. And it seems that once we make that leap through the door, window, or archway, the opening closes or magically disappears into a vaporous mist. Our momentum is forward, not backward.  We are in uncharted territory. Our reliable compass has trouble adjusting and our faithful, dependable map is smudged and ripped.  New place, new rules, new pecking order…

No + time = Yes = Movement

And then we are back to time.  Velocity, speed, distance is managed by a clock.  So what sets the clock in motion?  Motion requires a catalyst.  From my experience, the catalyst can be internal or external. Our response is in direct proportion to the strength and magnitude of the catalyst.

Recall my friend who refused to go on Facebook?  She feared the unknown, but her desire to stay connected to her children and grandchildren gave her the courage needed to learn to communicate in their world using their technology.   This seems easy enough, but there were decisive, albeit small, steps before the movement was complete, the greatest one being accepting that she could no longer control the terms of communication.  Her phone calls would reach voice mails, letters and even e-mails would never be returned. Two options and only one choice: loneliness or participation. Given the alternative of sitting alone, nursing resentment, she decided to engage and build resilience.  She has since moved on to texting and is now learning to tweet.  So we can add on to the equation, thusly:

No Facebook + time = Yes Facebook = Movement = More movement

No + time = Yes = Movement=More Movement

In transformation, time is a significant force.  My friend did not need the sign “be the change.” What she needed was time to think through the process, to re-examine her needs, to sift through her emotions and reach a solution that resonated with her value system.  In time, she recognized that moving forward enhanced her past, even though she was leaving a part of her life behind, and gave fresh meaning to a new possibility. When you sit in the “new chair” it may need to be worn in for a few days before it becomes comfortable.

Next post – What happened to the candle makers when the light bulb was invented? Can we predict the timing and the circumstances of change?

47 thoughts on “The Change Equation – A Catalyst for Movement

  1. What wonderful photos… if I could live in that world, I wouldn’t mind leaving the past behind!
    And what interesting thoughts… keeping up with change is such a challenge for those of us who grew up in a different, slower world, in which children ran messages because we didn’t have phones, and walked or caught a bus!

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    • Thank you, Valerie – you always give me good ideas…I remember my grandfather saying to me: “I was born before the automobile was invented and lived to see a man walk on the moon.” It was slower; more time to think. I’m wondering if our current frantic pace hinders, rather than facilitates, the transformation process. Something for me to think about…

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  2. Another great post and some interesting points for discussion. Is it to obvious to say that the only constant(thinking as I am in mathematical mode) is change and that this should figure into the equation. Perhaps somebody could formulate an equation with this in mind as well as including the catalysts and their role in change. One’s bum does indeed becomes sore whilist wearing in a new chair.

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    • A great idea – any thoughts on how to include that mathematically? When I look at the current change equation, it is really our response, and reaction, to a catalyst and change occurrence. BTW, I have “The Calculus Diaries” sitting on my computer desk in front of me….I’m going to be ready for Vegas.

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  3. “We connect change with movement, whether it be in symbolic or tangible form.” That’s a great way of putting it. Often it seems that sitting or standing (figuratively) in one place that we know very well is very comfortable, maybe even too comfortable at times.

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  4. Although we hear about change all the time, many times i wonder if they really want change … if they understand change …. for as change is hard, it’s painful, it’s challenging. Thus are these people really asking for a tweaking of their established position, which is far from change.

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    • I agree, we are experts at change, until we face it. There are very, very, very few people who seek transformative change. Mediocrity is a easier and safer road, except when regret shows its ugly face. I have heard people say (including me), “I want to live a grand adventure.” What we forgot is adventures bring radical change. J.R.R. Tolkien, says it better: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”― The Lord of the Rings

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      • As for me, during my teaching days, I was an instigator of change … I would challenge administrators and colleagues. Love it when they proposed that they perceived as change … yep … I was ready (and at times quick) to ponce.

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      • Would have loved to been in one of your classes to watch the sparks fly. It is good to watch a catalyst at work. As an instigator of change, what was your benchmark on whether the implementation was successful? And how did you anticipate change? I have been thinking a lot about “work” for my next topic. Because “work is tied directly to survival (food on the table) most of us are hesitant to make waves, especially during economic uncertainty.

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      • I was more about systemic change, so the sparks weren’t in the classroom. Meanwhile, very little change happened in a systemic way. In the classroom, I transformed myself … but eventually left the profession after 26 years.

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      • I come from a finance background where we are measured and benchmarked on a regular basis (what can I say, we love our numbers). In the end, I came to the same conclusion as you – transformation MUST be personal before it can become systemic. In my experience, it was the combination of individual courage and working within community that led to any lasting or meaningful outcomes. You have given me food for consideration – thank you again.

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  5. What a wonderful set of images to compliment the dialogue of the very complex human factors involved in change within ourselves.

    Often it is fear that keeps us immobilized and other times it is Fear that indeed does mobilize into movement.

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    • Thank you so much for your comments. We are indeed strange creatures or maybe it comes from our fight or flight instinct, fear is a key driver of transition. When you make a leap there is a heady mixture of adrenaline, anticipation and destiny…

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  6. I’ve really enjoyed thinking about this today, thank you. It’s often easy to see how we think other people should change, isn’t it. Not always so for ourselves, unless we decide that change is necessary – your ‘yes’. And then, what change to make, exactly? Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometime, one feels like moving, but it’s not clear where – might we choose the path less travelled? But once we get going, as with your Facebook friend, who knows what might happen. One step leads to another, and, as always, one is reminded of the importance of the journey itself – how pertinent for your travel theme. Even when one arrives at what might appear to be an end point, it really is only a resting spot. It might feel like a ‘no’, but given ‘time’, whether short or long, we are in due course back with our next ‘yes’ and off again. So might I suggest No+Time=Yes=Movement=Infinity?

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    • I love your addition to the equation. Infinity! We exist in a finite dimension of time and space, but we believe in the possibility of infinity! Perhaps we should embrace that belief within the constancy of change. You have given me something to think on, yet again!!!

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  7. I wonder if I can add to such scholarly comments. I am reminded of my psychology prof who said: “There are people in this world who cannot change—they are in BIG trouble”. Whether or not, we want to change, life is about change whether we like it not; They say:”We become what we eat”. I would suggest that: “We become what we think”. We invariably become what we think! If my assumption is correct, that can be very scary. It is, therefore, very important that we think good things, educational things, positive things–avoid negativity like the plague..

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    • I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly. Making sound and prudent choices, comes when you have an open and receptive mind. That doesn’t mean that we look at life through “rose coloured glasses” (as one of my mentors said I did), but with clear thinking and a rested mind ready to look at all the pros and cons of an issue.

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  8. Love your photos and writing, and scholarly discussion. Also thanks so much for always being the first to read and like my posts. I appreciate your support.

    About changes – I love changes that lead to transformation. I like challenges, and creativity. However changes often intimidate people who like status quo. I think we all need changes – social changes, organizational changes, in order to progress. There is always resistance to change whenever there are changes in new systems, and there are always movements to affect changes. Let’s continue this interesting dialogue. Thanks so much for leading the discussion!

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    • Thank you for stopping by and adding to the dialogue. Your enthusiasm is inspiring. I agree we are in continual movement; indeed our whole world is experiencing exponential shifts based on demographics, politics and economic considerations. The question is – how does personal transformation align with these external factors so that we live in accordance with our firmly held value systems. I don’t have the answers, but I agree that a dialogue gives perspective.

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      • Thank you for allowing me to chime in. I think our value systems will not be affected by the change. The process and methods may change, e.g. The method of communication may change.

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      • Thank you for chiming in!!! I agree – methods, processes and communication will indeed change. Our value systems do get tested from time to time during the process. The time to resolve any inconsistencies may be different for people, especially when there is a perception that we are losing something of value. Thank you for sharing your wisdom…

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  9. Wonderful post and the pics a delight! I must admit I went kicking and screaming into the world of technology(fb, twitter, skype, kindle, wp)….but as you said….if you want to “play” you must do the move. I have so far to go! ♥

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  10. Hmmm, the older I get the less likely I am to jump on the newest style, gadget or trend. I most definitely like to sit with something a while and it is true that things definitely grow on me over time. I see my kids struggling, as they get older, with the stress of keeping up with the newest technology. It’s nice to know I can keep myself open to new things but control the pace of exposure.

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    • I agree wholeheartedly!! We think that time is “in control” so we align our goals accordingly. Is it possible that time is really in our favour? Geoffrey Chaucer wrote that, “Time and tide wait for no man.” I agree – time may not “wait” but, I am wondering whether time can “work” with us. After all, we still quote Chaucer today, centuries later. He seemed to work extraordinarily well with the time he had. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – glad that we connected!!! Enjoying following your blog…

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  11. Pingback: The Change Equation – Candle Makers | Clanmother

  12. As a writer I think about those uncertain moments in our lives a great deal. How do we respond to change? Most of great fiction/nonfiction zooms in on those uncertain moments as pivotal to who a person/character is and can become. In large part, witnessing how another person or character responds to a situation helps us have faith in our own ability to carry on and to grow and to connect. Having the courage to reflect on change in your own life is an inspiration, Clanmother.

    Great post!

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    • Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. Profound and insightful. I agree – We seem to identify with the change process more clearly when we read or bear witness to a transition that occurs in someone else’s life. The turbulence of personal change can cloud our vision for that critical moment. And it is only when we look back that we recognize or understand the significance. Listening to the stories of others gives us the breadth of human experience so that we have the courage to move forward.

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    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts! Do you have a translator on your internet search engine? I use Google Chrome, which translates other languages into English. So glad that we connected over the “blogger” miles…

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  13. I do not like every changes, but some of them – yes. I enjoy in them. But, the fact is that we need to track the changes around us and select those in which it is necessary to participate.

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