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Why It is so Hard to Change – Part 4 – The Opposing Values of Society

by Oct 29, 2017Authenticity, Character, Courage, Effectiveness, Leadership, Truthfulness, Values0 comments

This is the last in a four-part series entitled “Why it is so Hard to Change”.

All Four posts can be found here:


We all claim that to love one another and tell the truth is the right way to live our lives, and many of us claim that this is how we actually do live our lives. All of the great religions and faith-based philosophies direct us to do so, and the majority of us claim to follow a religion or an ancient wisdom and its attendant tenets.

But these spiritual values often do not have a voice in “the real world” of our political, social, and economic practices. While our spiritual values encourage us to be generous, truthful, loving, compassionate, and caring, our quest for the “American Dream” or “personal success”, or simply “more”, may be guided instead by the pursuit of wealth, reputation, or power – or all three. Thus, we sometimes find our personal values in opposition to the values of society. While we profess to believe that we should be kind to our competitors and generous to our political opponents, the very terms “competitor” and “opponent” make these empty aspirations. Thus we are condemned to living inauthentic lives – at home and at work. We know what to do, but we have lost our voice and our courage to do so.

Before we can embrace change therefore, we must embrace courage.  It takes courage to swim against the current. It takes courage to say, “I don’t know”, “I need your help”,  “I was wrong”, “Your idea is better than mine”.  It takes courage to be mindful of, but not controlled by, what others will think or say or how they will judge you. It takes courage to say, “I have always done it this way, but perhaps there is a better way”. In other words, it takes courage to be open-minded,  to welcome new or different ideas and to set aside ego and defensiveness.

Courage requires us to:

  • Make a personal commitment to our own higher principles
  • Be aware of and accept the risks involved in living by those principles
  • Be willing to accept the consequences of those risks.

To sum up then, to embrace change we need to:

  1. Be conscious of, and willingly listen to the paradigms of others besides our own.
  2. Keep our egos in check by avoiding hubris – our paradigm may not be necessarily the only paradigm.
  3. Not be “Copyfrogs”, by silencing our voices and aping the opinions or behaviors of others.
  4. Not be intimidated by social pressures and society’s opposing values when they do not align with our own.

As Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

What are you seeking to change? What is preventing you? How will you follow these four steps in order to make a breakthrough?

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