April 29

Chaos: Resisting change  (part 2)

            (Continued from yesterday…)  I was in the liquor store recently picking up some wine for the weekend.  As I stood quietly in the checkout line, an undercover cop suddenly wrestled a young man in a trench coat – a shoplifter – to the floor.  There was quite a struggle, and the police officer kept yelling, “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!  I am a police officer – stop resisting!”  The young man took a royal beating as he continued to struggle with the undercover cop and the handcuffs.  It was obvious to everyone watching that if the young man had not resisted, he could have avoided a great deal of pain and suffering.       

     How does this notion of “resisting” apply to the rest of us?

            I can illustrate this principle by reflecting on my own experience in business.  When I first got into the sign-making business, I was required to learn the art of hand lettering.  This was a challenge but not a hard ship.  I took the course at college precisely because it involved this particular art form.  But as the years ensued new developments in computer technology began to take off.  I had barely got my feet wet when the rules began to change.  Hand lettering quickly became a dying art, and the competition around me exploded. 

             But I resisted.  I fought the change by continuing to manufacture signs by hand.  But the marketplace became flooded with a great many start-ups; individuals who couldn’t design but suddenly could make perfect, digital letters with a computer.  Between that and a major recession, prices began to plummet.  But instead of trying to adapt, I held on (to what I thought I had) for dear life. 

             The chaos – the changes in technology and the economy – was prophesying a change; and it was demanding change from me.  But I chose, instead, to ignore what was going on around me.  This caused fear and resentment (resisting) which caused even more chaos: Bankruptcy!  Unfortunately, this was a train that no one could stop.  It was either get on board or get run over.

       You may say, “Well, I didn’t cause these events; they just happened!”  “If my boss had just left me alone I wouldn’t be in this funk… I blame my boss for this.”  And it certainly would appear that your boss was to blame for your anger, resentment and upset.  But that’s because you’ve chosen to view yourself as a victim.  As a victim you either shrink back or rage in anger; either way you suffer.

       We have trouble realizing it’s not what’s happening around us that’s causing our suffering; it’s our resistance to these events that creates our misery.  In other words, we create our own suffering.  And it’s a choice.

 Tomorrow’s topic – Chaos: Clarity and informed choice