Management expert Tom Peters is known for his contrarian view about change. He vigorously disagrees with other experts in his field who consider change to be an uphill, painstaking process. Instead, he believe that all change – even massive, life-altering shifts in behavior – is enacted in the smallest fraction of a second – or never. To his mind, it happens instantly in a seismic shift – or not at all.
Here’s what he says about it in his book The Pursuit of the Wow:
“… I’m fed up to my eyebrows with execs (and folks of every other rank) who talk about how l-o-n-g it takes to achieve change. That’s pure rubbish. It takes forever to maintain change (‘One day at a time,’ according to Alcoholics Anonymous); but it takes just a flash to achieve change of even the most profound sort.
“One morning in Houston almost six years ago, I changed. I was a nonexerciser. But that day, for a lot of not very significant reasons, I went out at 5 a.m. and took my first, bumbling speed walk. Eleven minutes later (OK, more than a few nanoseconds), I was hooked. True, every day since then I’ve fretted that I’ll renege. Exercise is a lifetime pursuit, which causes pain some days (e.g., as I write, it’s unseasonably cold, rainy, and getting late). But as of that morning, I was a no-baloney, world-class, rudely dogmatic exerciser.
“Change is that simple. Honest.”
Wow! For a business writer, Tom really has a way with words: “no-baloney, world-class, rudely dogmatic exerciser” – what a great self-portrait of a committed convert!
More to the point, there’s the kicker that follows: “Change is that simple. Honest.”
Can it really be true? We all seem to send so much time hand-wringing about our ability to change, to shift gears – to do things differently. Surely we’ve all heard that old saying, “Insanity is thinking that doing the same thing will get you a different result.” And yet, when it comes to making real changes in our lives or our work, we think it’s too hard or too painful — and so we stop before we get started.
On the writing front, we all probably have a host of things we’d like to change. We may want to stick to a daily writing plan instead of being haphazard about our timing. We may want to push to completion on projects, instead of leaving them half-finished and stuffed in a drawer or computer file. We may want to launch a real submissions strategy and start putting our work out into the world instead of dithering and procrastinating about it.
Why not adopt Tom’s view? Let’s simply see change as simple – and go for it! Write on!
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