Introduction Those who do not understand change are those who are either timid or those who are baffled by it. Neither of these two reactions is needed in the first place. change has always happened all around us. It has enveloped our collective consciousness even without our knowing it. Let us take just one or two examples. We would have lived in the center of the city and would have seen only the suburban railway stations and a few shops near it. We would have also seen hundreds of boards announcing sale plots near the Railway Station, on an installment basis. That was two decades ago or even three decades ago, when even the first road was not there in that station, a village at that point in time.
What would have happened if you had taken a risk, had forecast all the possible ways a city could expand and spent just the four thousand on an easy installment basis? Yes, you would have even taken a PF loan to buy it. Guess what? It is those very same souls who are now worth two crore rupees since the same plots are now selling for one crore rupees today. That village is part of the city now. It has happened in Bangalore, Coimbatore, Chennai, or even Madurai. Yes, the change has happened over thirty years, but the change has been a work in progress. Another example. Did we have the same CBSE syllabus when we passed out some thirty years ago? Today, the 12th standard syllabus has portions in Chemistry, normally taught in the first year of graduation. The logic is simple. All that we need to do is a) Understand and appreciate the dynamics of change b) Understand at least basics of advanced technology c) Making your wife and children also change d) Get used to the better parts of change and e) Draw a line on cultural aspects that do not need change.
Understand and appreciate the dynamics of change The best way to understand and appreciate change is to really live it. In other words, become part of it. For example, Facebook. Let us accept it for the most healthy things it has done. It has brought together millions. We can even connect with friends we lost in touch for decades. We can save precious lives. We can share vital data. We can even alert people about so many issues and problems they face. Let us not be misguided that Facebook is useless because some third rate crook had misused it. Such crooks are there in every society.
We need to be prepared for such changes. All such changes have always been happening on the way we dress, talk, travel, exchange ideas or even spend time in the evenings. It is also a fact of life that change has already occurred so fast in the past ten years on how we manage the rat race in the metro cities since we are part of it. We are now in the midst of tumultuous changes. These changes will have money as the central objective in all families. Making money is the only game. It is our choice to have our own space in it. We can choose to either embrace totally. In that case, we need the hard grind of 16 hour work days. If we chose alternatives, we can always find them, and we can even work from home. The pay off in terms of money will also be that much lesser. The questions are: a) Where are we now and b) Where do we want to go? in the change process. The answers need to crystal clear and written down. Once we are clear, the battle is won. We will not only understand and appreciate change but also manage it very successfully.
Understand at least basics of advanced technology This point is relevant for a three-year-old. It is relevant for a 35-year-old person or a senior citizen. Technology is an inevitable part of our lives. Three-year-old children change TV channels with remarkable ease. They play with computers and laptops. The learning curve is so less. This is a vital change. We need to teach our own mothers, now 70 or above, to handle smartphones, open emails, reply to whats up messages and so on. These are not only so important but all these and more are an integral part of our day-to-day living. If we do not know even these basics, we are outdated and sort of unfit to be part of the Change process. We need to understand this new reality and act accordingly.
Making your wife and children also change This is another important aspect of life. If we are not serious about involving our own family members, we will not be able to effectively manage change. Picture this situation. You are a Deputy Manager, with a take-home salary of around Rs. 60,000 per month. Your banker wife draws some Rs.40,000 per month. Enough for both of you to take out your four-year-old son to the nearest multiplex, watch a good movie there, drive down to the neatest good vegetarian restaurant. You are not doing anything that is incorrect. You are just exposing them to small luxuries. The family also needs to observe all that is going on around them. The children do need exposure. They also need to understand why so many people are poor. This will help them to understand the need for a balance in their lives. This is very important too. Hence, embrace change, involve the family in it and then go ahead to experience different facets of it.
Get used to the better parts of change Mind teaching your five-year-old child to access the internet and get to know some small information? For example, if he were to ask you about Ghana, a country in Africa, would you mind teaching him everything about the whole of Africa? Mind you, the learning curve is always very less. The one thousand rupees you get to spend on the internet is a big investment. It is not an expenditure. Care to listen and check what interests him? Now, let us say, he is so good at singing film songs. And he is just five years old. Get him to sign up for the Airtel Super Singer Junior context when it comes up. Do not worry that he may not be selected for the next round. Let him experience the change. Let him get to jell with so many strangers. All of his age. He will look around and learn. He will invest a good deal of his time, honing the very same skills that will help him stand out in a crowd. So, you have worked out the change required and the coping mechanisms. Yes, you might be tired. But listen you must to him. You need to involve him very closely and sort of make him understand the whole world. Once this is done, the rest will fall in place. Of course, you need to do this to all aspects of change in all aspects of life. For example, if you have some money to invest, you can always invest it in the best Mutual Funds, with a long term perspective.
Draw a line on cultural aspects that do not need change Culture is one aspect that needs to be protected at any cost. This cannot be compromised at all. For instance, in most parts of South India, it is very common for men to dress only in dhotis when visiting temples. No other form of dress is normally allowed. The women also need to wear only sarees. They also need to wear glass bangles and flowers on their heads. This is a custom in most places. Similarly, Tamil Brahmins do a lot of pooja everyday. This would not change even if they are in New York. In fact, they even conduct special classes on Vedas to the Americans!!
There is absolutely no need to change any aspect of culture at all. There is no need to change even one single aspect. This is always unique to the person and the community he belongs to and should never change at all. Everywhere in India, the cultural aspects are different. No individual need to change at any time at all.
ConclusionIn the aforesaid paragraphs, we discussed certain aspects of why change is the only constant in life. Once we understand the different dimensions, it will become easy for us to adapt to such changes. The cultural aspects need not change at all. This is also an important point that needs to be taken into account.
A great article that reminds us that the only thing that cannot be ignored in our worlds is 'change'. A change in relationships, place of study, where we live, where we work, opportunities, etc. From handwritten letters, things have changed to emails, SMS, WhatsApp, etc. The world around us is constantly changing and it is vital that we keep up with the change; if not we would be left way behind.
It is the reluctance among some to accept the change, it is the fear of getting out of our comfort zone that makes many a misfit in the changing dynamics in various spheres of their lives. If one is skeptical about change, then he or she needs to analyze in an unbiased manner as to who they would be affected with and without the change. I think as parents, elders, seniors at work, we should help people who look up to us that change, in general, is not bad and often for the good. We need to help them gear up for the change and guide them if necessary.