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\”Change\” – Word of the Week

Definition of the word of the week (CHANGE): 1) To become different or undergo alteration. 2) To undergo transformation or transition

The famous American author and philosopher, Eric Hofer, wrote, “In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” The future is coming and we need to be ready.

Change can be a scary thing, sometimes. It can also be deceptive. We are all familiar with the old sayings such as, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or “Don’t rock the boat” or “That ain’t the way we do things around here.” All of these sayings are descriptive of a mind fearful of change. The deceptive part is changing something simply for the sake of changing. I remember an ancient Roman soldier’s observation that before each battle, his cohort would reorganize and, at first, he thought the change was to improve something and only later learned that they had simply changed formation to give the appearance of improvement. Although we should not fear change, neither should we change things simply to have something to do.

The view “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a product of stagnate thinking and inevitably leads one to a position of mediocrity. Progress requires a willingness to improve something that is not broken. Take the microwave oven and transistor radios for example. American’s created them but the Japanese improved them to the point that most people think they were created by the Japanese.

Instead of just going along with the flow, we should challenge ourselves to be change agents for “the greater good.” It only takes one person to stand up against conventional wisdom to make this world a better place to live — history is replete with examples of men and women of character who were change agents for the greater good.

As Clint Eastwood once said, “Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.” So let us all stand firm on our principles but have the courage to embrace change in pursuit of “the greater good.”

The following quotations are intended to assist in explaining and exemplifying the word of the week:

Speech is the small change of silence. George Meredith, British author

We may think there is willpower involved, but more likely, change is due to want power. Wanting the new addiction more than the old one, wanting the new me in preference to the person that I am now. George Sheehan

Everything can change, but not the language that we carry inside us, like a world more exclusive and final than one’s mother’s womb. Italo Calvino, Cuban essayist

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grown, we aren’t really living. Anatole France, French writer

Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown. George Shinn

Markets change, tastes change, so the companies and the individuals who choose to compete in those markets must change. An Wang, Founder of Wang Laboratories

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. Brian Tracy, American author

Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes. Lewis Grizzard

Money does not change men, it only unmasks them. Mme. Riccoboni

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. Otto Rank, Psychoanalyst

I’ve met a few people who had to change their jobs in order to change their lives, but I’ve met many more people who merely had to change their motive to service in order to change their lives. Peace Pilgrim, American peace activist

The acquisition of riches has been to many not an end to their miseries, but a change in them: the fault is not in the riches, but the disposition. Seneca, Roman philosopher

What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. Abraham Maslow, Psychologist

Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job. Adlai Stevenson, politician

The moment of change is the only poem. Adrienne Rich, American poet

Be thou incapable of change in that which is right, and men will rely upon thee. Akhenaton, Egyptian king, Monotheist

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with in, and join the dance. Alan Watts, American philosopher

Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes – goodwill among men and peace on earth. Albert Einstein, physicist

All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts. Albert Einstein

Sometimes only a change of viewpoint is needed to convert a tiresome duty into an interesting opportunity. Alberta Flanders

The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order. Alfred Whitehead, British philosopher and mathematician

Man has a limited biological capacity for change. When this capacity is overwhelmed, the capacity is in future shock. Alvin Toffler, American author

If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude. Amy Tan, Chinese-American author of “The Joy Luck Club”

They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Andy Warhol, filmmaker

Only in growth, reform and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found. Anne Lindbergh, author

LTC Patrick Beer, the Dean of Students and Commandant of Cadets at Georgia Military College, prepares this study guide each week as part of the institution’s character education program. He welcomes comments and suggestions from readers. He can be contacted by phone, 478-445-2710 or by email, pbeer@gmc.cc.ga.us