If you ignore it, it won’t change

Boss, Rant

hot-dogSort of a followup on the last post, sort of a general truth about life and work: Things that bother you don’t change just because you wish or hope or pray or dream. You actually need to do something for things to change. If not at best they will continue to bother you or will in fact just get worse.

Otherwise reasonable people, in business, seem not to be capable of dealing with this. Not that they are willfully ignorant by any means, it’s just that the concept of managing a business involves lots of variables and it’s easy to try to ignore the things that you don’t like. No matter how painful the change for the better may be, the peace of not disrupting the current flow is something easier even with the full knowledge that the difficulties that keep on making one day after another suck more and more. For some dumb reason, we’d rather stick with the pain we are familiar with even with the threat of it getting much worse than embrace a change that while painful might lead to a much better place.*

This is not a fallacy of business owners and managers alone, it exists at all levels of an organization. Except it’s worse. If you think it’s tough to make a change (that you know you need) then imagine the horror of having change enforced on you by someone that you likely already blame for other things that are wrong in your life.

The Solution

The biggest problem with embracing change is that you likely need a big change (whether in action or how you see the world around you) and not a small tweak. In order for it to work you need to take a long hard look at everything that bothers you and create a very long plan of going from point A to point B. Except then you realize that even small changes suck.

Fat people don’t like being fat. So instead of switching from Coke to Diet Coke they go on the Internet and find studies about how diet soda is bad for you. Well no shit sherlock, all soda is bad for you. So do they quit Coke outright? Oh god no, they already overexerted themselves Googling and reading, heck may as well open another can as a reward for taking steps towards… <SLAP>

The Cold Ugly Truth

People who hate change are the people who were not beaten enough by their parents to associate actual pain with bad decisions. When you’re raised by people who make it OK for you to be a faultless idiot, things get really hard when you grow up and have no adult supervision. Even worse, you can find dumbasses that are just like you and can help you perpetuate your inability to do what you really need to do. There is the exact opposite of this as well – people who make wild, uncalculated reckless moves just because they cannot tolerate an ounce of discomfort. They tend to die and win a Darwin Award.

Listen, there is a middle between the Westboro Baptist Church and motorcycle stunt driver. You need not lead life in ignorance or impulsive miscalculated steps.

The only thing you need to embrace is that you have a problem and that the problem you have is going to take a long time to solve. Months, years. Set a goal to plan (longer than you think) and figure out how to solve the problem – then get to working (shorter than you think) to address that problem over time. Baby steps, small changes over long period of time. Get a journal, get a goal, get a reward system, get a support system, get a buddy that’s equally fucked up in whatever your problem happens to be and go for it.

It’s not easy. It’s not quick. People will judge you and say mean and discouraging things. You will lose some friends, you will lose some employees, you will lose some hair, happiness, <insert whatever you value here>. It will be bad.

But nothing in the world is worse than being right where you are with the same problem a year from now.

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