Change change change. How often do we hear that these days? From a lean perspective we’re focused on continuous improvement… another form of change.
But is change truly necessary? Zen Habits had an interesting post a few days ago that calls it into question. I don’t necessarily agree, but it’s an interesting perspective.
Seriously — almost every political and religious group, every
opinionated person, every publication with an opinion, has said at one
time or another what they think is wrong with this world.
Conservatives think that we’ve become a welfare state while many liberals think we’ve allowed too
much corporate welfare. Others
think that abortion is the problem, others think it’s declining morals,
others think it’s infidels, and others say it’s infidelity. Other
things that are wrong with this world, depending on the group: the
media, young people, environmentalists, McDonald’s, criminals, gays,
black people, white people, foreigners overrunning our country, bigots,
radicals, the Establishment, poor people, corporations, lazy people,
evil people, Fox News, the Internet … the list could go on and on,
Ok, and how does Leo deal with all that?
So what’s really wrong with the world, in my opinion? Not a thing.
That takes some guts. Why does he feel that way?
It seems to be a prevailing world-view that the world is messed up,
that there are just a few things wrong with it, and if we could only
get those things to change, the world would be great. If we could just
educate people and get them to realize what’s wrong with this world,
things could change.
This type of view of the world — and like I said, I think it’s the
prevailing view — stems from an ideal that many people have in their
heads of what the world should be like. Reality and this ideal are incompatible.
That’s how most people are, and I don’t think I can change that, nor
would I want to. I thought it would be an interesting discussion,
though, because I think this discrepancy between what people think the
world should be and what the world really is can cause unhappiness.
When reality doesn’t meet ideals — and it rarely does — we become unhappy.
So instead of being dissatisfied and unhappy with the status quo, instead should we simply accept reality and be blissfully happy?
I’m not proposing that you, or anyone else, change your world-view.
If you, or anyone else, is happy with that world-view, don’t change it.
But there is an alternative, and I’m not saying it’s better. It’s
the world-view I try to have: instead of having an ideal, stop looking
for perfection. Accept the world as it is, and love it for what it is.
Accept people as they are, and love them.
That’s not easy, even if it sounds trite and commonplace. If you
haven’t tried it, I recommend you do, because 1) it won’t be easy; and
2) it could open your eyes to the pre-conceived ideals you didn’t
realize you had.
What would be the result of this alternative world-view? Well, I
think you’d be happier, if only because you didn’t see the world as a
fundamentally flawed or evil place, and began to see the good in the
Does this mean that we should give up on trying to make positive
changes in the world? Should we stop trying to make the world a better
As I said at the beginning, I don’t really buy the entire concept. I believe you can also create happiness, and satisfaction, by improving the world. But sometimes we do need to take a step back and make sure we’re not creating change just for the sake of change.