I am sure that all of you have heard this phrase, again and again, all through your life, “Change is the only constant.” However, what I have experienced and more so believe most of you, if not all, have experienced is that we all have been at one point or the other reluctant to change; then be it our individual habits or be it old and redundant customs and traditions followed in the society. This is quite natural because it is very uncomfortable for someone to move out of a zone or practice that he or she has been accustomed to for a very long time. But, what worries me the most is that change cannot be avoided and that is the harsh reality. The outcome of resistance to change can even be devastating both to an individual as well as at a social level, as it can even lead to emotional breakdown and result in being an outcast.
There is an episode from the epic Mahabharata (which I like referring to as ‘The Guide to Human Actions’), in which Lord Krishna compares the customs, practices or habits to a fruit. He explains that a custom or a habit, at its initial stage, is raw and bitter like a fruit – and many do not prefer to consume it. As time goes on, it starts ripening and rightly so, it becomes popular among everyone and now every member desires it. Then, it comes to a stage when these customs and traditions start wearing off. In other words, the fruit starts to decay, which when consumed only leads to discomfort. Here it is important for us to understand why it is necessary to wholeheartedly accept change and move on.
That was about why we need to change. Now, talking about how we can motivate someone towards accepting change; then be it on an individual, societal or corporate space, we need to understand that the change we are promoting is positive. Agreed that there is often a two-sided debate, over what is positive. Each person or group has its own point of view on a particular element of change. Some express their opinions, while some simply take a backseat and sulk, creating a disharmony. To come out of this tricky situation, it is important for the person promoting a particular change to first understand and accept the outcomes – both positive and negative – himself and then proceed to discuss these with others. Another step to be adopted by a person is to be open-minded to all the criticism he or she might have to face at the start. It is not easy to create a revolution, especially when it deals with human behavior. No person would want to give up on the puffy comfortable cushion called habits or customs and adapt to a new surrounding unless they find a good enough reason to do it.
One of the best weapons that can be used to motivate someone towards a particular change is literature. Literature both fictional and non-fictional covers a large spectrum of areas and topics that can provide different viewpoints on topics related to the particular change. Reading and understanding someone else’s point of view or story on a particular element, influences one to break the existing rigid boundary and think beyond.
Another important way to motivate change is to take it slow and easy. Yes, when something is being imposed on someone, it only creates resistance. This will gradually make it very hard to actually connect to and motivate people to adopt it. They might start developing a grudge towards you when you start forcing it on them, only resulting in an outbreak at some point in time. To change someone completely, it becomes essential to understand the resistance that person tries to pose, and then work around it. This can happen only by taking someone into complete trust and confidence.
Those were few pointers on how you can go ahead and motivate people around you to change.
So go on and become the revolutionary you that you were meant to be. 🙂