A lack of restraint

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

This line was quoted by Flemming Funch this morning in Facebook and it got me thinking about the nature of change. How much we all try to change other people – whether our family, our colleagues or our staff. But we never, ever succeed. No one has ever made anyone else change. They always have to decide to change themselves at some stage. And why do we change? Because we have seen the possibility of being better. Happier, more effective, more successful. Whatever it is we have seen something in someone else we want to emulate.

The more someone berates us, finds fault with us and attempts to bring about a change in us the more we dig our heels in. And yet seeing someone being the way we want to be can make us change in an instant.

The prevailing business culture in most organisations – mature, restrained, un-selfaware and often aloof – is the last sort of thing that is going to make any of us want to change.

We need more people alive, awake and going for it – whatever it is!

6 thoughts on “A lack of restraint

  1. Although it is more about changing the way things are done, rather than changing people, I think you would be interested in "Switch: How to change things when change is hard" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. It talks about how to take people along with change – what you need to do to engage them and make it easier to introduce change.The book is based round a large collection of case histories from malnutrition in Vietnam and improving healthcare to more business related change.There is a short review of Switch on our website.


  2. The interesting point here is that you can't truly know that something will make you more alive until you actually take part and experience it. That's the point of self-enlightenment. The 'doing' part removes the detachment and opens up new possibilities and the genuine right to challenge whether the changes themselves are worthwhile and valid (or may indeed need to be adapted). But does that mean that every change has to be lived out by those seeking to create change? Ideally yes in my view, but realistically that's impossible.


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