Changing the Unchangeable

Dr Olu-Segun Olasode's Blog

Changing the Unchangeable

Times have always changed, but reality is changing at such a rapid pace that we are unable to keep up. As a result, we have those that are adamant about not changing their habits or conforming to the ebb and flow of times and seasons. Change is an act or process through which something becomes different; unchangeable, on the other hand, is described as something that is not subject to change or modification, and some synonyms includes Fixed, unalterable and deep-rooted. In today’s world, it’s uncommon to find a situation that is not subject to change; even the earth itself is continually changing.

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, famously stated,

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
This expression implies that the world is continually changing and that no two circumstances are identical. When you step into a river, you won’t be able to touch the same water twice, just as you won’t be able to touch the same water twice when you step out. Change will ultimately happen with or without your permission, no matter how hard you try to resist it. So, what happens to someone who refuses to change?

In this article, we have categorized change into two types: anticipatory change (one that is implemented prior to the occurrence of an event or a chain of events) and reactive change (changes that occur in response to an event or a chain of events). Those who anticipate change and plan for it are more likely to have an organic process than those who wait for it to happen and react or reject it. Some of the most significant changes occurring in the world today include; economic change, global change, social change, ideological change, technological development, and many others. Governments, institutions, and individuals who have made a decision to reject these changes or have their mind and ideas deep-rooted in the former ways are likely going to be washed away by them.

However, whenever there is a need for change, resistance is unavoidable. The resistance might come from a large or small group depending on the situation that requires change. A recent example of this is when COVID19 broke out in late 2019/early 2020, some countries that were not affected in the beginning were aware of the virus but questioned its existence; even when it became real and those close to them died, some individuals refused to wear a mask because they saw it as an inconvenience imposed by the government rather than a means of protection. Given that this resistance affected everyone, not just those who refused to wear masks, the government was forced to respond by enacting regulations requiring everyone to wear a face mask or face being denied entrance to public venues. In this case, the resistance had to be fought back and responded to, but in other cases where the resistance is from a small group and does not have a negative impact on the general public, it can be ignored for those resisting to catch up because attempting to subdue any and all signs of resistance to change is a lost cause.

People resist change for a number of reasons, including a misunderstanding of the need for change, fear of the unknown, attachment to the old way, and not being engaged. “In order to gain people’s commitment to change, you must engage them on both an intellectual and emotional level.” People want to be completely involved in a process before agreeing to it, this could be at the governmental or organizational level. Wherever it is, in order to persuade others to change, you must be able to influence their decisions and provide them with a new perspective. Life is more about changing one’s mindset than it is about changing the circumstances. George Bernard Shaw stated that

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
This is why, in today’s highly connected, fast-paced global environment, so much effort is expended in influencing people’s minds, providing them with fresh perspectives, and influencing their ideologies.

Change isn’t always a pleasurable experience. It can be challenging, costly, and stressful, but it is a necessary process that will teach you how to adjust to different conditions, help you develop resilience, and help you understand our capacity for growth, all of which will benefit you in the long term. As a result, you must constantly prepare yourself for change in order to avoid being in a position where you react negatively to it.

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