“Growth is the only evidence of life” – John Henry Newman
As the saying goes “Nobody is perfect”, one may start thinking about the stability of the concept of perfectness. How exactly would one define perfect if no one has achieved it? It’s more like saying “We captured several images of a black hole” which is ambiguous; as for image capturing the basic idea is producing the light bounced off (reflected) from the object to be captured, however, no light can ever escape black hole due to its strong gravitational field. So, basically, one cannot see the black hole. Nobody knows how it looks like, or what shape it is, but we conceive a rough, vague round structure of black hole pertaining to the black looking part. Similarly, if no one has achieved the so-called ‘perfection’ and no one knows what exactly it is to be perfect, how would you define it? This results in vague ideas of being perfect arising complicated, insubstantial and meaningless words such as kind, moral integrity, intelligence, passion, faithfulness, courageous, etc.
The main thing people tend to ignore to achieve near perfection is the CHANGE. The change or the growth that defines and makes you a better person than you were yesterday, is the one thing that needs to be embraced by all. Plan your future, concentrate on “what” needs to change rather than directly moving on to “how” it needs to change. The future is a difficult topic to get your head around simply because it hasn’t happened yet. It’s always out there on the edge of the present, but you can’t see it or make sense of it until it has happened and that’s exactly what is needed. It’s perfect because it leads to ambiguity and uncertainty where creativity, improvisation, and innovation occurs.
Here is an interesting change phenomenon explained by Kurt Lewin back in the 1940’s:
The Lewin’s Change Management Model
Kurt divides the change into three different transitions – Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze. He explains it through an ice cube. Suppose you want to change the shape of an ice cube into an ice-cream shaped cone, the best way for the same would be unfreezing the ice cube into water. Applying the change such as storing it in a conical container, and refreezing it. By looking at change as a process with distinct stages, you can prepare yourself for what is coming and make a plan to manage the transition – looking before you leap, so to speak. All too often, people go into change blindly, causing much unnecessary turmoil and chaos. Prepare for the change, accept the change before you start building it and if required break some rules and crush the obstacles because if you want to add some new storeys, you will have to reconstruct the foundations or the whole building may risk collapse. This constitutes the unfreezing part. It may lead to instability or loss of equilibrium and that’s exactly what we are seeking for. By forcing the organisation to re-examine its core, you effectively create a (controlled) crisis, which in turn can build a strong motivation to seek out a new equilibrium. Without this motivation, you won’t get the buy-in and participation necessary to effect any meaningful change.
Then comes the change stage, where you remould the distorted and broken plans with a new approach. After the uncertainty is created, start looking for new ways to do things, start believing in the new direction. This transition is the most important part of the whole process and so naturally it requires time. Time and communication are the two keys to success for the changes to occur. People need time to understand the changes and they also need to feel highly connected to the organisation throughout the transition period. When you are managing change, this can require a great deal of time and effort and hands-on management is usually the best approach.
Lastly, when everything falls into one thing and you could finally imagine your future well planned and constructed, it’s time to refreeze. The refreeze stage is to help people internalise or institutionalise the changes. This means making sure that the changes are used all the time; and that they are incorporated into everyday business. With a new sense of stability, you feel confident and comfortable with the new ways of working. As a part of the refreezing process, it’s time to rejoice and celebrate the success of the change.
An advice from me, write a letter to your future self! Write as many as you want and set time intervals such as 2 years, 5 years, etc. Make each letter long enough to describe your current status and your plans for the future. Don’t forget to describe all the things you don’t want to take into the future and things you expect to stumble upon in your journey. Seal it, and set it into your calendar. This would help you in maintaining a change curve and analyse your progress. It would also inspire you to work harder to achieve what you dreamt of years earlier.
Change your life. Write your own story.