Change Takes Time

Any significant change takes time to occur.

We’ve heard the adage, “It takes 21 days to make a habit”, and understand it to mean that it takes 21 days of consistently doing something to effect a habit. Why 21 days?

Supposedly that’s a scientific answer to how long it takes us to do what we may not want to do, so that it become a habit of something we simply do. Without thought or question, it’s just the way we effect change in our lives.

But in reality, we know it’s not always this simple. And, we see in real life that attempting to force change overnight never produces positive results.

“Change is a process. Not an event.” ~Unknown

It’s not like flipping a toggle switch and “Presto!”, it’s changed!

Lonely Acorn

How well we know this, but how little we understand it. Another older saying: “When is the best time to plant a tree so you may enjoy the shade? 20 years ago… It takes time for the tree to grow enough to provide for your shaded comfort!” Okay! Who gets the joy of providing the shade for me to enjoy today? Why, the previous generation!

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Anonymous Greek Proverb

This acorn will take a long time before it produces the shade we desire!

But we are viewing change differently in these modern times. No longer are we willing to wait for it to transform over a period of time. We want it NOW. Today. It’s like we’ve become the society that abhors the time honored concept of taking our time for things to happen.

How did this come to pass? I believe it is simply a symptom of the technological age we enjoy. It used to be you would watch the evening news and read about the history of the past 24 hours, but now you can immediately see what’s happening around the world in less than 24 seconds.

We’ve morphed into that instantaneous society that wants to effect change now.

Take United Airlines for example. We’ve forgotten that they owned two of the planes that were used in the 9/11 attacks. Along with American Airlines, their corporate image will always be connected to the horrible tragedy of just 16 years ago.

But with some glaring public relation missteps, we want to change the corporate culture of United Airlines today because of what just happened (overbooking, dress code). We want to punish and force change when someone makes a mistake and we are not willing to wait for all the facts to show up, take time to contemplate the nuances, and make a rational decision on what we think. No. We determine how best to challenge said company into compliance with our own view of what should be done… Now. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Now.

It’s almost like we’ve become that petulant child we all detest being around. The shrieking, temper tantrum, bang on the floor, wailer, who protests verbally and visibly that they are not getting their way. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but it seems that’s who we are as a nation. We want to make people change, and we want it now!

We protest. March. Make ugly speeches. Incite the crowd with rhetoric. Destroy property. Riot. And keep doing it until we think someone will listen and agree to our demands. The news media keeps egging it on by extracting only a portion of the story and blowing it out of proportion, painting the story that matches their corporate view and policies.

Why? Again. It’s that instantaneous technological world that gives us sound bites to a story. We are not willing to listen to the entire exchange, read the rules and laws that govern all the parties, and then work to effect the change that needs to occur in an orderly fashion.

Is this new? Perhaps not. After all, every country through the centuries have had problems that often result in political struggles before change occurs. It’s just that it took a while to marshal all the pieces together. Communications were much slower… (Think Paul Revere, “The British are coming!”) Technology breaks the back of time. And it is a polarizing force. Regardless of your leanings (conservative or liberal), you have the opportunity to listen to the talking news heads thread the story in such a way to elicit your emotional reaction.

Once again. Technology. We’ve become a nation that enjoys the “reality shows” of loving one, hating the other, and then voting our emotions. Or, is that “venting” our emotions. It’s difficult to take a stand on anything and not have others emotionally vent on your stance. This makes me think we are the opposite to that intemperate child I mentioned above…we’re wimps.

Somewhere between the extremes we need cooler heads to prevail!

I appreciated the responses of Neil Gorsuch, the most recently sworn in Supreme Court Justice. He had a cool headed and even keel response to the 20 hours of “grilling” by the Senators who were responsible for testing his viability for the highest judicial honor in our land. Why can we all not be like this? Perhaps it comes from him having an internal view of who he was as a person, a judge,  and learning how to respond to life’s grill.

Keeping your head in the sand does not excuse you from the game of life.

In 2016, only 54.2 percent of voters participated in the national elections. How can we be content with this? It’s like half the nation simply did not care enough to voice their selection into office. Why? I wonder… It’s only been since 1932 that statistics have been documented of all the potential voters vs those that showed up to vote. [Source] If the full populace would weigh in, what would we be like today?

So. Vent your frustrations. Pop off at the opposing side. Keep giving a “piece of your mind” until you have nothing left to give. I don’t care.

But as for me… I want to weigh in with facts, and not emotions. I want to understand that change is a process and it takes time to adjust to a different result. I need to comprehend how you might be driven by your emotions more than analysis, and I need to adjust how I relate to you. You are maddening to my calm, just like my calm probably drives you bonkers. But somewhere between the poles of our processes…we need to find the middle ground that will allow for change to occur. In due time. It’s a process…


2 thoughts on “Change Takes Time

  1. During this morning’s news about a Confederate memorial and its possible removal, one of the anchors commented, “We are changing history”. I thought, “NO, you/we are not changing history. We can ignore it or deny it but we cannot change it”.

    Are we ADDICTED to our Out of Control, Lack of Restraint condition? Where did this happen?

    How did “Have It Your Way” change from a phrase to our RIGHT?

    In my opinion, technology is NOT the problem, it is a tool being misused by our lack of discipline and maturity. It is a means for our anger to fuel more anger. Each individual is responsible for HOW they treat each event encountered.

    Thanks for your thoughts.


    • We are facing changes on every hand, and technology allows us to see instantly, and to respond instantly. This instant gratification society seems to think it is their right to respond now, and we all know that “now” is often an emotional response, not a well thought out reply. I still think technology has given us a path that we did not have 20 years ago, much less back in my keypunch card days of 50 years ago… There is still the voice of the Apostle Paul from nearly 2,000 years back that tells me this problem of response has probably been around us for more centuries than we can shake a stick at: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV)


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