Know your des­ti­na­tion

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

AMER­I­CAN vot­ers elected a new pres­i­dent last week. “Change” they seemed to clam­our for and change they got. But, al­most as soon as the re­sult was an­nounced, thou­sands be­gan protest­ing against the pres­i­dent-elect.

It ap­peared, that was not the change they wanted!

And, what’s hap­pened in the US echoes Brexit in the UK when more than half the vot­ers in a ref­er­en­dum opted for the UK to leave the Euro­pean Union. Again, no sooner was the de­ci­sion an­nounced, many wanted it re­versed. They wanted to stay in the EU.

All of us have longed for change in our lives, hop­ing that will make us bet­ter. In­evitably, that long­ing lingers on, mor­ph­ing into dif­fer­ent goals but the yearn­ing per­sists, at times be­neath a ve­neer of out­ward sat­is­fac­tion.

We con­sider change a “threat” when done to us, but an “op­por­tu­nity” when done by us.

A clear des­ti­na­tion is nec­es­sary. Many change ef­forts fal­ter be­cause of be­ing de­ceived, mis­guided or con­fused over ex­actly where ev­ery­one is ex­pected to ar­rive.

In the story Alice in Won­der­land, when Alice, who is con­fused, asks the Cheshire cat which road she should take, the cat re­sponds: “If you don’t know where you’re go­ing, any road will take you there.”

That’s a help­ful re­minder to pin down our goal first. Zoom in on the des­ti­na­tion on our men­tal map, and then zoom out to pick the best path.

That way, it’s not the im­me­di­ate gain that we’re ob­sessed with, but some­thing more con­crete and well-thought out that will see us through the medi­umto-long term.

When one is en­gaged in the ef­fort of set­ting a new di­rec­tion, chang­ing be­hav­iour or reach­ing a hith­erto unattained goal, it is im­por­tant to con­sider the wide rang­ing ben­e­fits it could bring to all who would be af­fected by it.

Of­ten, what one wants to achieve can seem over­whelm­ing. The mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem, the dif­fi­culty of the so­lu­tions, the length of the time and the num­ber of ac­tion items can make change feel so com­plex that peo­ple feel paral­ysed, and noth­ing hap­pens.

We need to be con­scious that “A jour­ney of a thou­sand miles be­gins with the first step”.

We must do some­thing, get started, take the first steps and the jour­ney is un­der­way.

Over­con­fi­dence, es­pe­cially com­pounded by ar­ro­gance, re­luc­tance or fear of mis­takes can some­times leave paths un­ex­plored. It’s im­por­tant to seize ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity and un­ex­pected op­por­tu­nity. Some side­lines are dead ends, but oth­ers might prove to be faster routes to the goal.

There are many road­blocks, ob­sta­cles and sur­prises on the jour­ney to change, and each one tempts us to give up. Give up pre­ma­turely, and the change ef­fort is au­to­mat­i­cally a fail­ure. Find a way around the ob­sta­cles, per­haps by mak­ing some tweaks in the plan, and keep go­ing.

Per­sis­tence and per­se­ver­ance are es­sen­tial to suc­cess­ful change and to re­alise one’s am­bi­tions.

Most im­por­tantly, lead­ers must em­body the val­ues and prin­ci­ples they want other peo­ple to adopt. They must be role models, ex­em­pli­fy­ing the best of what the change is all about.

If pos­si­ble, tie change to things peo­ple al­ready want, and give them a chance to act on their own goals and as­pi­ra­tions, then it is met with more en­thu­si­asm and com­mit­ment.

Then, and only then, will peo­ple be able to hon­estly pur­sue, recog­nise, ac­cept and ben­e­fit by the change they seek.

Rueben Dud­ley Petal­ing Jaya

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