Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Don't protect yourself from changes. Embrace them.

I have come across three interesting articles last weekend, and I want to share them.  First one is how much we all hate the changes and tries very hard to resist them.  Second is about how we all tend to underestimate the changes that we are going to go through, yet when we look back, the changes that we went through are often much greater than how much we anticipated.  Third is Glenn Kelman's story about how he embraced the changes instead of protecting his ego.

For those who cannot wait to get to the punch line.  It doesn't make sense to protect yourself.  You are going to change so much anyway.  Why not change faster to get better faster?

Story One

Jason Evanish wrote about how we share many links on social networks yet we don't pay attention to the lessons and how we can change to learn from the articles.  There are simply too much information coming to us at incredibly rapid speed.  We put ourselves on the information treadmill where we constantly have to keep up to just stay at par.

Often I pull out my phone to keep myself busy when I'm waiting in line for checkout counter.  It has become a second nature that I check my Twitter timeline whenever I have a spare moment.  I rarely follow the link to read the content top to bottom.  I skim through the content while eyeing the movement in the line ahead.  I'm just going through the motion because I can keep myself busy.

Jason's point is that we are all guilty of doing this to some extent because we often don't implement changes that we learn from the articles that we read.  By actively looking for lessons that we can act on immediately, we can be more engaged, and actually read an article.

His stipulation for our lack of interest in really reading something: we are all resistant to changes because it takes efforts to step out of our egos, admit our wrongs, and move past our mistakes to embrace the change.

Story Two

NYTimes had an article talking about how we all tend to minimize the changes that we are going to have versus the changes that we already have gone through.  When a thirty something is asked to recollect how much change he went through in his twenties, he has good idea of how much has changed.  Yet when he was asked to look ahead and forecast how much changes he'll go through in his thirties, an average person tends to describe fairly monotonous shifts.  With every age group, people underestimated how much change is lying ahead versus how much change they went through already.

This is interesting because it's saying two things.  First, it is saying that we have no idea how we are going to change in the future.  When looking back, it seems funny how we were acting infantile way.  Yet when we are confronted with the question of how we'll change in future, we have little to no idea how we will change.  Second is that even though we don't know how we'll change, we all end up changing in one way or another.  Even when we have no idea, we are all changing in a way that we have a very little idea of how.

It kind of makes sense.  If we had known how we'll change, why wouldn't we stay as today's selves?  Why wouldn't we just change to that future selves or try to realize the future right away?  We are going through the changes in a way that we don't quite understand today.  The change may be just right under our nose.  It could be our refusal to see the reality that blinds us.

Story Three

Glenn Kelman is CEO of Redfin.  He is a software guy.  But now he's building a real estate company, called Redfin.  Last March he got on the TEDx stage and shared why he chose to build a real estate company instead of building a software company.

In order to solve the real world problem he saw the need for real people helping customers.  Yet all his investors were signaling that he should build a software company that sells to real estate companies.  He had a choice to make.  Either stay as a completely virtual company, or to build a new real estate company from scratch using their own technology.

The fear of unknown did not stop him.  He chose what he believed in, and he has been hard at work building  a new type of real estate company.

He didn't take a short perspective to protect his position.  He took a longer view, and decided to make the progress towards the future that he believed in.

The theme across these three articles is embracing a change.  Change is inevitable.  Everyone goes through them.  Whether we plan for them or not, changes will happen.  Yet some of us run towards the change, while some run away from the change.

Ask yourself.  Are you still protecting yourself from changes?  Or are you embracing them?