Change comes in two flavours. Good and bad. That’s it. Good change — like finding a new job, buying a new house, booking a vacation — is quite welcome. Naturally, bad change isn’t. The first reaction is to fight to keep the past alive where things were safe.
After getting stabbed, I spent a lot of energy worrying the guy was going to stay in jail for a long time. Writing letters, getting phone numbers, visiting police…
Of course, it serves no purpose. We spend a lot of energy preserving the past after unwanted changes. It’s a natural reaction, but it’s ultimately useless. Preserving the past, to avoid a new reality is futile. That’s why the past is the past, the present is now and it dictates the future. [Side note: Temporarily holding on to the past is healthy if it leads you to accept what’s happened]
By far the best thing I did after the stabbing, wasn’t to write letters or get angry. It was to write a simple blog post. I got to hear from people saying it changed their habits. It made them safer — walking in groups, keeping their iPods off and increasing vigilance. Not only on that street corner, but where ever they go. In a small way, that post allowed me to accept the past, start moving on and help my small part of society grow.
Focus on tomorrow
When change happens you have two choices — fight to preserve what was or fight for a chance to transform and grow. Only one of them really prepares a stronger tomorrow. There’s an opportunity to not only change yourself, but also those around you.
There’s always an opportunity to make lemonade, no matter how bitter the lemons appear to be.
(Photo credit: Erich Ferdinand)