How to Create Positive Change: Look for Apathy v. Energy
Here’s the basic idea: Positive change starts inside of a person, works it’s way out and into the world around them, and then returns to the individual as a reward.
I’m all about change for the better. Just about everything I’ve studied in my adult life has had positive change as the motivation and the goal. And I’m not alone in wanting my work, relationships and world to improve. I’ve observed that most people want things to get better. It seems to built right into us.
Prove it to yourself!
Do you want your work to be more meaningful and fulfilling? If your answer is yes, you want to experience positive change.
Making a Positive Difference
Do you want the service you provide others to make a positive difference? If the answer is yes, then you want to create positive change.
Do you want reading my blog and newsletters and other materials on positive change available to you elsewhere to solve all your problems? If your answer is yes, keep reading.
Because I wish it was that easy. Fact is, life is difficult, relationships are complex, and all too often, things seem out of control and too hard to handle. And when things don’t work out the way you want them to, it’s easy to feel helpless, hopeless, to give up, to give in, to become cynical, impatient, and even apathetic. Apathy is exactly what you get when a person quits and then sticks around.
Now why would someone become apathetic? I can only think of two reasons. The first is, they’ve convinced themselves that there is nothing that can be done. And the second reason is they’ve convinced themselves that what they do doesn’t matter. They haven’t made the connection between what they do and what happens around them.
Yet you are no doubt familiar with the effect on others in the workplace when someone who quits, sticks around, who stays at the job long after their heart is no longer in it. They lose their energy but they keep showing up. Why do they stick around? Chances are, they need the money. Or it’s easier to stick with the familiar than to take a chance and change themselves.
Impacts of Apathy
Apathy is an internal variable, but it has serious external effects. It’s a morale killer. It degrades the quality of the workplace, whether it is for profit or not for profit. I can apply a colorful phrase from Ross Perot here: “It creates a giant sucking sound,” a black hole into which the care and concern of other might disappear forever.
But the reality is that in your workplace-and most everyone’s-is that there will always be some apathetic folks. So don’t let their apathy determine anything about the quality of what you do. The alternative to apathy is energy. Energy is the inevitable result of knowing what you care about and basing your actions on that. To have energy, YOU MUST CARE! Now, am I saying you have to care about the people you work with? No. After all, you may barely know them. And in the case of the apathetic ones, you won’t want to know them. Does that mean you have to care about the job, the work, the responsibility? No, not necessarily. Hey, sometimes a job is just a job. But I am saying that you better know what you do care about, what your reason for being and doing and having is. Because without that, you run the risk of becoming apathetic yourself.
Finding a Step Forward Toward Change
Change for the better happens when individuals like yourself identify what they do care about, and then find a step forward that fulfills it. It really is that simple.
- What do you care about?
- What difference do you want to make?
- What matters enough to you to want to give your best, be your best, or do your best?
For me, it’s always been about the quality of my moment in life. Since I have no guarantees of any moment beyond this one (something that frequent travel has taught me well) I want this moment to be the best it can be. When I do a project, or work with a group, or help an individual to fulfill themselves, I do it because I care about the quality of my own life. I know that at the end of the day, if I have given my best, I’ll take that with me. But that if I give my least, I’ll have nothing to show for it.
The Difference is You
It’s an interesting math exercise, but when you add it up, it means the biggest difference I make when I seek to make a difference in the world around me is actually in myself. And that’s something I bring home with me, to my family and loved ones.
Change for the better starts on your inside and works it’s way out into the world around you, then returns as its own reward. In the circle of life, that’s a cycle I can do a lot with!
How about you?
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.