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  • Writer's pictureunkillbilly

Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes

Change? Don't you ever change!

Ever heard that before? I think it's meant to be funny. An exaggeration. An admonition that defies reality. I mean, after all, every romantic relationship I've ever had, my partner/spouse has had designs on changing me right from the get go. Right? It's happened to you.

And after sixty-three years, I've learned that a more important idiom is "the more things change, the more they stay the same." No matter how disrupted the environment around you looks, the basics, the underlying mechanisms of social structure stay the same. The rich get richer, and the poor get blown away…

How about you? What're your feelings on change?

Here's a third saying WRT Change: "The leopard can't change its spots". Kind of in line with "the more things change…" Despite a sincere desire to change, behavior is based on beliefs, and if you can't get square with your beliefs, it's hard to change behavior. And beliefs are notoriously difficult to modify, and cannot be deleted altogether.

Seems like mankind has been more attentive to how things don't/can't change than how things can.

Lately I see a lot of attention given to the power of Habit, the idea being that large changes are obtained by following a process of incrementally small actions. I like the idea of leveraging something that is so ingrained to drive what might be sweeping change. In the past, there was a focus on eliminating bad habits. Now the focus has turned to promoting very small good habits. The kinds of actions and behaviors that build on themselves. What's the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

For years, in my work as a software consultant, I was responsible for something called Change Management (CM). Every project I worked on faced the same issue: resistance from current staff to changes in their 'system'. Whether that system was automated with software or guided by procedurals, people believe the work they're doing is important—until some fancy pants consultant comes in and tells them the system is faulty and needs an upgrade. People often leap to the conclusion that they aren't valued.

Change Management is the tool that people like me use to address this resistance to change. It eases the transition by enlisting all levels of an operation in the process of change itself. CM is most visible in the business world, but the principles and practices are used in a wide spectrum of operations. It's important because the consequences of not managing change are expensive.

Still, the one key thing vital to successfully managing change is the understanding that change happens one person at a time. Getting buy-in is paramount. Good communication is a prerequisite. But the target audience for the communication has to be made to feel that they are being considered as individuals. Every man is an island.

Which brings me to Dr. Rick Hanson. He's an accomplished and highly regarded neuroscientist. He knows a lot about how the brain and individual brain cells function. In his book, "Hardwiring Happiness" he speaks to the concept of the Negativity Bias and the impact that has on human happiness. We come into this world pre-wired with this bias. It's what kept humans alive for hundreds of generations, so it's a fundamental manner of thinking that is integrated with all we perceive and think.

Hanson argues that, while there's no deleting the Negativity Bias, it can be offset—by creating positive brain structure to counter the influence of the Negativity Bias.

Whoa! Did I just type the idea that we can create new brain cells?

Hanson believes we can do it—and I've practiced his system to create new brain structures and my impression is that it works.

It's very simple. I recommend obtaining access to his book "Hardwiring Happiness" and will let you discover Hanson's technique(s) for yourself. Suffice to say the initial requirement is to find something happy to focus on. It can be anything, as simple as the taste of chocolate, as basic as the relief from voiding one's bladder. The rest of the system is designed to 'install' the experience in your awareness in such a fashion as to drive the creation of positive brain structure.

Imagine that. Growing cells, which 'wire together', to open the door to routine happiness in your life.

I can tell you—the shit works. And now that we are all facing such massive amounts of change, most of it negative, it's probably a good time to start building a positive track to go with all the pain and peril of our current times. In spite of all the turmoil, there are opportunities for you to find something pleasant, something that's positive, some little thing—and that's all you need to make Hanson's system go.

The book is available in your local library and on the internet at web libraries like Hoopla and Libby.

The fact of the matter is…given the circumstances, we're all gonna have to consider a change of spots. Can I trade my leopard ones for some tiger stripes?

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