Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why Is Change So Hard to Embrace?

I don’t know if it’s age, stubbornness or simply fear that makes change so difficult to embrace. I just know that I’ve been struggling to adapt ever since I turned 40. Everything around me is changing, except my pay check, and my ability to hit the lottery.

Am I the only one who feels like I’m running fast but not getting very far? The more I do, the less fulfilled I feel. I can’t quite put my finger on it but time seems to have sped up. It seems all I do every day is breathe, work, pay bills and try to keep my head above water. Every now and then, I find some small pleasure or some small relief. Life has to be more than just getting by. Where’s the passion? Where’s the purpose that our spiritual leaders talk about?

What’s happening to our world? In the midst of all of this change, what is there to look forward to . . . a jacked-up economy, astronomical unemployment, increased poverty, homelessness, fear, homicide, and helplessness? Everything is stagnant. Small businesses are closing up shop. Big businesses are filing bankruptcy or begging for a government bailout. Communities are being held hostage by drugs and degradation. Yet change is constant.

Nothing feels the same. There’s a sense of paranoia in the air that is slowly sucking the life out of everything that use to be fun and normal. People are afraid to spend money, walking on a tight-rope at their jobs not wanting to give their employers any reason to hand down a pink slip. Others are feeling desperate because they don’t know how they’re going to pay their mortgages or their children’s college tuition.

People are working harder and longer than ever before with no vacation in sight. No relief from this vicious cycle. Everything is pending . . . everything is changing . . . nothing is quite the same anymore. Change . . . why is it so darn hard to embrace? Why can’t we just go with the flow? Might happiness be found there? Or is it all an allusion?

Can Average People Make a Difference?

I'm a firm believer that great works are not exclusively achieved by those with the most education, the most money or the best connections. I believe that the greatest achievements derive from every day "average" people who are willing to work hard and persevere in the midst of difficulty and uncertainty. Sometimes pushing forward with nothing more than sheer will-power even when the odds are clearly not in their favor. That's when the true heroes rise to the occasion.

Today, we need a few heroes. As hard-working Americans begin to work their way through the economic crisis that threatens to unravel their foundation, the need to toughen up, tighten up, and to focus on finding workable solutions instead of finger-pointing will become essential. In spite of the many challenges that we face, this is not the time to become weak at the knees. We must resist the “victim” syndrome with all of our strength. This is an opportunity for self reflection, strategic planning and the hero syndrome to rise. Average people can make a difference. The time is now!

We must develop a can-do attitude and believe that with faith and perseverance we, the average person can prevail. Each person has a choice. Individuals can choose to be inactive, and allow the gloom to paralyze them; or proactive, and begin to pool their resources, knowledge with others to influence positive change on their own. History has shown us that there is power in numbers. As a unified voice, we can make our needs heard and influence our elected officials and leaders to stand up and address the issues that plague this country.

Since new ideas are limited in the political arena, this is an opportunity for regular citizens to begin to brainstorm and tackle the difficult problems that stagger their own communities. No longer can we afford to wait for politicians to solve our problems. Until politicians begin to feel some discomfort of their own, it will be difficult for many of them to understand and empathize with those who are jobless, homeless and feeling desperate. Because of their limited view of main street, and their hunger for power and prestige, the politicking and back-biting with continue in government instead of strategic collaboration and the search for real solutions to the problems that face this nation.

We no longer have the luxury of being passive. It is unacceptable to simply complain about the economy, the plight of the middle class, or the disadvantaged. Now is the time to roll up one’s sleeves and get busy working towards solutions that will improve the future of our communities and this country. The challenge is yours. The challenge is mine. What will you do today to make a difference? Today is a new day. Let’s empower ourselves to make a difference.