The paradox of change

What do you do first, when you have the bug for change? Truth is, the fact you are thinking about changing something is a very good start. In the generality of individuals the real urgency for change is present, but not really actively pursuit. I would say a big chunk of them are either, learning how to understand the world as it is (mostly children and teenagers, but some adults as well) and the ones that believe they understand the world already and don’t need to change any more of it (usually middle age and old people but nowadays a lot of young adults as well). So, good that you are looking for change but where to start? You don’t want to lose the spark. The energy that imagining something done by you or you group gives you. Usually starts with a thinking process, a lot of deliberation of what is worth pursuing and what is not, discarding and more discarding, sometimes a good idea, but then discarding again. The energy of feeling like you could be an agent for change is awesome, but how do you make it happen?

Then you might tell someone about the best of your ideas, maybe not yet fully convinced, maybe totally in love and obsessed, and they say…I don’t think that is going to work.

How can they not get what I’m seeing? what is wrong with them?

Sometimes you will just say uhm… Maybe they are right and this idea is just going to be a big waste of time, maybe the next one will be better, let’s keep looking…

Some guys ideas are things that can be put together, at least in a raw form, by themselves. Seeing something working in a prototype form gives them some indication wether it has future or not. For some of them the idea is secondary, the need to solve is the real urgency. Solving the problem comes easily to mind, like for a toddler to bring a stool for the first time to reach the jar of cookies. There is no realization of the ultimate step that the action represents, or a grandiose vision of how with 18 months someone can use tools intelligently, is just a natural response to a need, and be able to solve it with what is at hand.

If the question of change and where to start comes to your mind, is not that is doomed to fail compared to the guy that doesn’t even question himself and just does it, and might not produce anything, but the attempt probably gets him closer. Is just a different way to go about it, all theories and complete schools of thought started from the premise that there is something underneath the world we see and can play directly with, and that an understanding of it needed to be sought. However, theories and theoretical thought usually (except in the case of philosophy and physics) follows practice, and explain after the fact rather than the opposite. So, maybe the message is indeed that if you are thinking on what to change you are starting from the most difficult end. Theorizing on what needs to be changed is more an aspect of the task (that will need to be taken care of), but in the short term, actions speak louder than thoughts, keeping momentum is critical.

So where is the best starting point for change? Thinking about it is the most difficult choice, but still a valid one. Then you have to deal with the doing.

You know the feeling of change, that bug that got into you, that came about in a particular situation or problem. Maybe get exposed to the bug again? and again, and one more time? Become a doer of the current solution and experiment it first hand. Do you feel is still broken? can you see the Forrest still while being on the tree itself? Sometimes you won’t, and the bug will disappear. Maybe that wasn’t something I really wanted to change or worth changing. Sometimes the bug persist and grows even stronger, and then eureka! A solution, one not from thinking, one from being at the core of the battle, suffering first hand what needs to be changed. You feel is right and tinker with it straight away, ultimate destination unknown, but the reward is in the attempt. Now you created something, it works is what you wanted. It stops, the bug, the urgency for doing is quenched, you have a brief moment of peace and start thinking about it, in a morning shower like moment you decide is more to be done, something is not right, and it starts again, changes, exhaustion, is like you want to reach your destination, but you don’t want the fun of the moment to end. By this stage your thinking drives and rationalizes what you have created, it was really done from impulse and lack of any theory, however now you have a thousand that explains what you did, and can be universally applied. You stop and think, what is more important than the doing? Nothing surely, but while doing physically seems that you were also doing something in your head. Finished product, neat theory to go with it. Maybe thinking wasn’t the worst place to start after all. So, where do I start when having the bug for change?

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