Change. It’s all around us. It forces its way into our lives. And, it seems, it’s happening more quickly now than at any time we can remember. Every day seems to bring some new gadget, device, app, technology, software, or way to do things. Often, it can seem overwhelming. But as the old saying goes, progress waits for no one.
Some people embrace change. They love it. They thrive on being the first one on their block with the newest and coolest toys. They’ve got to be one of the first ones to do anything new, and they love to tell everyone about the latest thing they’re doing (that you’re not doing)! Early adopters, these people are often called.
Other people aren’t opposed to change, but they’re not going to be the first one’s to make the move. You won’t find them lined up outside the Apple Store for a week and a half, waiting to be the first one in line to buy the newest gadget. They like new things but are perfectly content to wait until the newness is gone, the ruckus dies down, and most of the bugs are worked out. This is where most people fall when it comes to trying something new. Some get in a little earlier, some a little later, but most people fall here, somewhere in the middle.
Then there are the laggards. These are people who hold out as long as they can before moving on the something new. These are people like your dad, who keeps playing those VCR tapes until most of them have worn out and it becomes impossible to find a new video cassette player at the local Walmart. They wait until the absolute last minute, until they’re forcefully dragged into the current century, kicking and screaming, once they’ve totally exhausted every other conceivable option. We often lovingly refer to these people as “dinosaurs.”
Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.George Bernard Shaw
The people that embrace change, whether they’re early adopters of somewhere in the middle of the pack, often do it because it’s justified. Whether or not they thrive on being the first, they’re typically making a change for one reason: because the new thing they’re moving to provides them with some benefit that outweighs the difficulty involved in adapting to something new.
They’ve done the mental cost/benefit analysis and determined that the price of not moving towards the future is too great. Making the move would be too beneficial to them and/or their business to pass up.
Simply put, it’s too expensive to keep doing things the old way. These people can see the new thing on the horizon (or right in front of them) and they have the mental capacity to be able to recognize what’s possible.
Unfortunately, there is another group in play as well. These are the people who absolutely refuse to embrace anything new. They can’t really give you a definitive reason, but instead offer up various diffuse arguments. They’re line of reasoning is not easily followed, and they seem to keep changing their claims, oftentimes within the same conversation. When one of their complaints is swept away, they quickly switch to another. They often attempt to use discordant arguments and generally have a hard time putting their reasoning into words.
Now there can be people who say no for very specific reasons. Sometimes people will assess the opportunities provided by the newest idea or technology and simply decide that they don’t need what’s being offered, as it simply doesn’t provide them with enough benefit to change from what they’re already doing.
But these individuals are resolute in their decisions and can clearly communicate their reasoning.
While these people decline to participate in the new thing because it doesn’t work for their situation, the other people are likely saying no because they’re afraid.
They’re afraid of change.
They’re terrified of trying something new.
They’re worried about not being able to figure out the new technology.
They’re frightened of someone knowing that they can’t pull it off.
They’re simply scared.
But no one wants to come right out and say, “I’m scared.” So, as their decisions are not based on any sound reasoning or defensible argument, they come up with objections instead. Oftentimes throwing in loud bravado as a way of hiding their fear.
And, unfortunately, their wandering “no” can’t be turned into a yes by simply listening to their objections and clearly and rationally refuting them. Because their objections aren’t real in the first place, they’re clearly not interested in someone explaining reality to them.
They’re mind is already made up, and they’re not interested in anyone confusing them with facts.
There’s only two things that are going to change the mind of someone so opposed to doing something new, something that frightens them. They’ll eventually have enough experience with the new thing to figure out that it’s actually beneficial for them to join in or the societal pressure of not joining in with the rest of the masses simply becomes too great for them to resist any longer.
History has clearly show us that we can’t change the opinion of people when they simply don’t want to understand something outside their own personal ideology.
Unfortunately, we often find ourselves, in one way or another, under the influence of people like this, whether it’s in our family, our job, our industry, or in society at large. And often, we’re at a loss to be able to counter their influence.
Often the best thing we can do is to grin and bear it, hoping that eventually they’ll come around to our way of thinking.
But, maybe sometimes, we can be the impetus for that societal pressure that becomes too great for them to resist any longer.
We can try to run.
We can try to hide.
But eventually we either succumb to change or we get left behind, clinging to our 8-tracks, cassettes, VCRs and handwritten inspection reports when the rest of the world’s gone digital.
This post is based on a post written by Seth Godin. Follow him for amazing insight on marketing your business (and life in general)!
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