Monday, 21 March 2011


a Moment for Wisdom…



“Two irrefutable truths:

Change is inevitable.

Everything resists change”.

(Quoted by) Roger Von Oech

“People don’t resist change.

They resist being changed!”

Peter Senge

a Moment with Sharif…


Two quotes today, both different, seemingly contradicting each other… yet holding the symmetry of truth.

I don’t think this is “either /or”.  I think it’s “both/and”.

Think about the “changes” in our lives that we WELCOME.  Innovations like the Internet or Google.  The availability of healthy choices in food.  Ever- increasing opportunities for connectedness (well, that’s one I don’t necessarily fully embrace!).

On the other hand: this week a friend shared with me her first run-in with a “key-less” car.  Getting the car to start, keeping it going, even knowing whether or not it was “on” or “off” – all produced much uncertainty and anger.

Which gets us back to our two quotes above.  The problem has to do with CULTURE.  (Remember: “culture” is the part of your life that you don’t have to think about… unless you run into a different culture.)  There are 140 separate actions you must take, in the correct order, from the time you are standing outside of a car with a key in your hand to the time you have the car in motion.  (That does not include adjusting mirrors, selecting radio stations, etc.)  Of those 140 actions, you are conscious of… almost none of them.  Any American can get behind the wheel of any car and drive away inside of 15 seconds…
… unless the car operates from a different culture.

Two friends told me stories of their first encounters with cars.  One had learned to drive his uncle’s car, who was a wheelchair user.  The accelerator and brake were on the steering wheel.  He thought ALL cars were like this.  When he got into a “standard” car (in a car showroom), he asked, “What are those things on the floor?”  The other friend, raised on “standard” cars, got behind the wheel of a hand-operated car for the first time.  He told me, “I knew something was wrong, something was missing – but I couldn’t figure out what!”

So, let me try to refine the above wisdom further:

People resist change.

People resist being changed, because…


We live our lives on automatic pilot, allowing our culture and our sub-conscious to guide us through life.  We resist that which FORCES us to think… whether or not it benefits us.  On the other hand, we readily embrace those changes we are WILLING to think about.

It would serve us well if we become more conscious of the connection between consciousness and culture.



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All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

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