Continuing upon the theme ‘Are You Sailing the Seven C’s’, this post follows up the presentation of the first two C’s, Create and Connect, with Change and Challenge.
Change Something (including yourself)
The poet Maya Angelou wrote ‘If you don't like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Building upon Maya’s statement, what would you like to change? Let’s start big with change the world! What can you do to start to change the world? You could begin to change the way you interact with the environment. You could begin to change the way you interact with the economy. You can change the world of politics by running for office or being a campaign volunteer. You can change your understanding of the world by traveling to places you have never been. You can change your understanding by taking a course, conducting an experiment, starting up a conversation with a stranger or stepping into a place you would never have dreamed of entering before. Are you the type of person who is okay with incremental change or are you primed to be part of big, sweeping change? Consider climate change or regime change - where is your change comfort level pointing? You are probably familiar with Gandhi’s quote ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’. I don't know about you, but it’s a challenge in itself to change myself let alone expect other people, places, policies and politics to change. My experience tells me that the two are tightly connected. If you want to see any change outside of yourself, there likely will be an internal calling to change something, be it tiny or huge. Because of the forces of change we can’t control or alter (the storm on the horizon, the tide, the life and death beneath our boat . . . ) this ‘C’ can be the most challenging to navigate, especially if we aren’t aligned with our purpose or true north - which leads to the next ‘C’.
Typically, challenge is something we come up against. Life is full of challenges to be faced. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote “The ultimate measure of a man (woman) is not where he/she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he/she stands at times of challenge and controversy”. I couldn’t agree with this more. But let’s also look at challenge through the other end of the lens. Rather than have our lives defined only by how we succeed or fail in dealing with the challenges life throws at us, let’s also define who we are by what we challenge. Let’s begin with the status quo. Do you challenge the status quo? What is your status quo? Do you challenge conventional thinking? Do you challenge belief systems? Are you the type of person who challenges what is perceived to be the truth (the world is flat)? Are you a challenging personality in the best sense of the word? Do you relish the challenge of righting a wrong? Kurt Cobain said, “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption”. Do you feel a duty to challenge something right now?
The waters of challenge and change often flow into one another. To begin to challenge the way things are, there’s a good chance you will feel the need to challenge yourself. Challenging yourself (or being in the act of change) can be daunting, frightening and to be avoided at all costs. Apathy is a way to avoid challenging yourself. Distraction or diversion work, too. Apathy and distraction can be especially powerful when you aren’t operating from a point of purpose. It can be a challenge just getting up in the morning let alone finding the wherewithal to challenge the reasons why you believe in a certain political party or dare to question the theory of relativity. No surprise here, but I believe one anecdote is having a purpose, the kind of purpose that can take on all kinds of challenge and to also challenge.
Our next post will explore other C’s: Collaborate, Conquer and Compassionate.