Discussing change and stability

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Much have been discussed about change and stability. Are we able to achieve both?

This is an interesting question and much have been discussed in both academia and the business circles. I will say that this question transcends both areas such that the very choice that we make encompasses life itself.

“To make a choice between change and stability is usually very heavily contextualised within the domain of one’s life circumstances and ever-evolving happenings globally. It also has much to do with the cultural characteristics in which one was engaged in. It also has to do with one’s innate personality. The last factor may be the pivotal point in which one makes a decision between change and stability.”

So, there really isn’t any hard and fast rules on whether it is possible to merely achieve one or both. It’s a blend somewhere between personality, culture and changing circumstances. Currently, TIME magazine has reported on the intrusion of tourists on certain tourist attractions such as Lombard Street in San Francisco. But gradual adjustments have been made to accommodate the influx of tourism while still ensuring minimal disruptions to the residents in the area. Besides striking a balance, I feel that another crucial factor lies in the decisive moments when one makes one’s decision. What’s challenging is that most of us often miss these decisive moments, as well as the fact that the decisions that we make are often relative and subjective.

It seems that there are more people who prefer to be where they are than to make changes. Are there any reasons for this?

It’s primarily psychological.

If you move, you have to deal with changes. And these changes could be as trivial as making room in a corner of your bedroom for a pet, or as drastic as ensuring that there is enough budget for food, accommodations and transport in the event that you choose to accept an overseas posting for a few years.

“Such changes could be social, economical, political, financial, educational or it could a combination of all these – on a national if not global scale. “

The “if it’s aren’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra has a stronger emotional and mental pull on almost anyone. It all comes down to self-preservation. If you make changes, you incur cost in terms of allocating resources and facing any changes that might be disruptive to your lives. If you stay where you are, you are safe – at least for now. It usually takes a whole lot more than a mindset to cause attitudinal or behavioural changes in someone. However, this is not how our forebears survive. They change their habitat, their lifestyle, their preferences, their habits – in the hope of a better life and a better world. You also observe these in animals, in insects. A chameleon is an obvious example.

But there is an interesting aspect to these changes. Humans have always strived to strike a balance between being competitive and collaborative through change. You see this in politics, in office politics, as well as parental and marital relationships. You also see this in carnivorous animals that hunt, such as the wolves.

“The Chinese novel “Wolf Totem” (which had since been translated into English) carries a strong message in its tale: that should the wolves be wiped out by the hunters, their preys will increase in number and the crops will suffer as a result. In a very provocative manner, the themes of change and renewal is prominently brought up in almost every aspects of the book. “

But humans did progress after all, didn’t we?

We did, but often not fast enough. We probably pay a price for this – in the form of a lost job opportunity, maybe. Or maybe something more costly.

What you are saying is probably mankind’s progress on the whole. On that count, yes we are progressing progressively. But if you were to look at the societal or national levels, the progression are of a different pace because people have different views, as well as being born in different circumstances. And in these disparities and differences in progression rate, we see opportunity costs borne by the people.

So, to expedite change, sometimes we have to change the circumstances for the better, which cannot be accomplished by any single individual. Of course, another way is to relocate. Nevertheless, there is no perfect place on Earth and one at times have to make do with things that one is unfavourable about. There is also a cost in relocating oneself. Families and loved ones are left behind.

Yes, you are right. It is often better to regard progression on a wider scale rather than just on an individual level.  Life is relative and the media often aggravates this tendency. It is human nature to want to better one’s life and often, we use others’ materialistic possessions and achievements as yardsticks to measure our own well-being, instead of using our current achievements as benchmarks to do better next time.

To a certain extent, this is human nature – which often does not change.

Patrick Tay is an English Language and Life Skills Training Specialist  who is based in Singapore. He has been teaching communication studies and international issues in polytechnics and writes regularly on various issues of interest in education, media, business and international affairs at patricktay.wordpress.com. He can be contacted at teachingwithart@gmail.com .


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