Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Of Life and Newton's Laws

I have seen the real life example of Newton's law and the inability of people to change. 

Newton's first law states  - A body at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion, unless it is acted on by an external force.

This also proves that people are reluctant to change. Even when they know whatever they have to do, whatever is right is before them, even if it stares in their face they dont want to change due to percieved problems or sometimes just because of laziness.  

Now what is the role of the person who  tries to bring about the change or has lot of stake in the change? 
He should observe the reason for which the people are not willing to change - 

Is it because of laziness?
If that is the reason then the change maker has to take the first step even without the consent of all the people who he is trying to change and people will follow suit. Again according the Newton's first law, people will continue to be in the state of rest or motion  unless they are acted upon by an external force. So as the changemakers force will be acting on him and he will be able to see the good results and as the people are just unwilling to change because of laziness but because of no other reason, no body will get emotionally hurt and the change can be achieved. 

Is it because of percieved problems that they might face? 
The change maker should try to explain and negate the issues or percieved problems they might raise. There are two types of problems that might arise. First, they may talk about real problems that might arise due to the change which they can see with their experience which the change maker is unable to see. Then the change maker can try to explain how those problems are immaterial in the current context or how they can be overcome in some way. Or he can explain that even though these problems might be encountered, the advantages hugely outweigh the small problems they might face, people might get convinced. Nextly there might be problem of value conflict, i.e people might value something different from the change maker, then it requires a paradigm shift from the part of the people who want to change. 

How to bring about such paradigm shifts? 
They best way such paradigm shifts can be created is by showing examples of people who have taken the changed path and show them that most of their percieved problems were not real but just that percieved... 
Sometimes such examples might not be readily available and they might still poke holes in the models that we try to show. Here is where it gets difficult... If the change maker is convinced that THE CHANGE IS THE ONLY WAY that the objective is achieved, then even if no body else comes with them, they should be able to proceed with their change. This involves some amount of emotional hurt to the changemaker as well as the people who are not ready to change, but as time progresses, the people will try to see that most of their percieved problems were not real and that whatever problems they might face can just be easily overcome. Then they start to change and everyone will change. But here a question comes to the change maker - 
1. Is that the only way to achieve the objective? 
2. Does realizing the objective warrant the hurt it gives to the people involved?

If the change maker is absolutely convinced about the affirmative answer for both the questions, he can proceed without the support of anyone to achieve their objective. 
If the change maker approaches the people to change without knowing the answers to these questions, then he might realize that he is getting the answers for any of these questions as 'NO', then he might be tempted to leave what he has started in the middle which will cause unnecessary emotional hurt to the people who were with the change maker supporting his change. Ofcourse, the change maker might not know the answers to both the questions before hand and he might realize them in the process of change. Then he should explain the position clearly to those who support him and ask the same questions to them and if they still get the affirmative answer then only proceed further or stop the change they are planning to bring. 

This underscores the need to think through before taking any decision and being convinced that THE THING  has to be done to get the required outcome, then only taking the plunge. When the change maker is convinced that it is the only solution and it warrants the emotional hurt it might give to all the people involved then it is easy to for him to navigate through it. 

This means that our energy shold be spent in things which you are thoroughly convinced that the change they envisaged is very good and it is the only way and there is no dropping in between. All the best..

Hope you could take something out of this charged rant..!!!