Advice & Help

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch Changes

“How can I be sure…in a world that’s constantly changing?”

The Young Rascals

In this season of Obama-Clinton-McCain presidential hopefulness, the theme of Change is in the air. Everywhere. Whether it be political Change, or climate Change, or some other variety of Change, we have become insistent that whatever it is, it better be changing.

Though as silly and banal the conversation seems to have become, the underlying concept of Change is still one of the most important factors affecting our lives today. As unsettling as the velocity with which new ideas, knowledge, products and services are coming at us may be, this faster and faster changing world is creating unprecedented and amazing possibilities for us all, perhaps more than at any other time in human history.

The downside? We are overwhelmed with more tasks, more paper, more email and greater responsibilities. We are a part of that highly efficient production line: at one end, Change is throwing numerous opportunities at us. And at the other end of the line, we find ourselves in a quandary, not knowing how to take advantage of those opportunities; to excel, to be our very best in a world that seems to be different by degrees each day.

How do we participate in and behave in ways that fuels this Change? Some relegate themselves to the role of casual observer. Some remain oblivious to what is happening all around them.

The high achiever knows that growth is a precursor to success – and that growth occurs only when you are willing to embrace Change and move out of your comfort zone.

Which category do you fit into? Do you want to affect and control change?
Or do you want simply to be affected and have your life directed by Change? As Charles Darwin wrote over 150 years ago, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Darwin knew even then that although Change was inevitable, we do have the ability to determine its effect on our lives.

Perhaps we should stop being so surprised that things Change in the first place.

We all have a natural tendency to remain in the safety and familiarity of the comfort zone. Successful people force themselves out of their comfort zones, knowing that this facilitates continuous improvement and growth. Those who remain in the comfort zone, resisting change, eventually risk waking up one day only to discover that time has passed them by.

They are older, but not wiser.

They may be filled with potential, but have diminished or obsolete skills. Instead of growing they find themselves regressing or stagnant.

The need to embrace the inevitability of Change is true for our personal as well as professional lives. It applies to individuals as well as multi-billion dollar corporations.

Successful companies invariably are those that research and develop new products and strategies, and implement new systems. These companies and the people who make up these successful companies are motivated at every level to step out of their comfort zones; to be open to fresh ideas; to allow themselves to see the possibility of Change.

Successful people, whether they be entrepreneurs or executives; students or teachers; tradespeople or professionals, are always learning and developing new skills, and thereby having a much greater chance of remaining relevant in this increasingly competitive world in which we all must live.

As the historian Eric Hoffer wrote, “In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Change now. Start today, before the need for you to change arises. If you wait until Change is required, it is quite possible that the opportunity will have missed you – or more accurately, that you will have missed the opportunity.

Keep on Pushing!

About the author

Devon Harris

Devon Harris was a member of the Jamaican Bobsleigh team and competed in three Winter Olympics; he later joined the army and attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. Born on Christmas Day, 1964 and raised in a violent ghetto environment in Kingston, Jamaica, the greatest gift Devon Harris ever received was the belief that a positive attitude and a never say die philosophy would carry him farther than a sense of injustice and a heart filled with anger.A graduate of the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England, Devon received a Queen’s Commission in December 1985 and served in the officer corps of the Jamaica Defence Force until December 1992 when he retired as a Captain.At the heart of Devon’s message are the lessons he has learned of the power of persistence over all sorts of obstacles in order to live one's best life. His mission is to bring this message of how everyone can keep on pushing and working for their dreams every day of their professional as well as personal lives.Encouraged by his commanding officer, Devon tried out for and was selected to the first Jamaican bobsled team which competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada. Their exploits inspired the Disney blockbuster movie Cool Runnings. Devon also competed in and was captain of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France and the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan.The Keep On Pushing Foundation which he founded in 2006 aims to support and enhance the education of kids in disadvantaged communities around the globe by providing practical solutions to the challenges that are preventing them from getting educated.Through the Keep on Pushing Foundation, Devon also works with Right to Play as an athlete ambassador, supporting Right to Play’s efforts in using sports and play in refugee camps around the world to enhance child development and build community capacity.As an ex-serviceman, Devon understands the commitment, sense of duty and sacrifices made by those who volunteer to serve. As a private citizen he is cognizant of the fact that the freedoms he enjoys are paid for by the courage and sacrifice of these men and women. As a result he has also devoted time to visit the troops serving in the Persian Gulf.He is the author of the motivational children’s book, Yes, I Can! and the semi-auto-biographical motivational book Keep On Pushing: Hot Lesson From Cool Runnings.