The choice between change and persistence is one of the toughest decisions we ever need to make. Nothing difficult ever happens without persistence. It’s important to be able to stick it out through tough times. Still, there comes a time to cut losses and move on. It was an interesting week to contemplate the dilemma.
My Dad (remember the OWM?) celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination last Sunday. Dad is the model of persistence. He served causes and congregations his whole life. He made it through good times – and a whole bunch of bad times as well. No matter the situation, Dad stood firm, held the course, and made progress because he stayed persistent. He changed numerous lives and organizations all because he fought for his causes.
Dad did a great job, but he might have more difficulty in the times that are evolving. Change continues to accelerate and all of us must adapt to those changes. Technology connects us all. Those connections make good ideas more visible, causing them to spread faster and easier than ever before. Ideas and information fuel change and make adaptation a critical skill.
Persistence is critical, but it’s just as critical to be able to stay flexible and change when necessary. The old paradigms of persistence, loyalty, and perseverance fall short in this new environment. Those qualities take on new forms. Instead of building a firm, inflexible foundation, like a house; the new environment demands a more flexible base.
The picture of a solid stance on a surfboard is more apropos: Standing firm to ride a wave, but able to adjust to changing conditions. In these times it’s important to find the right wave, ride it long and strong, learn from the ride, and find the next wave. The best progress will still be made by those who can show persistence, but now use that persistence to adapt and take advantage of changing conditions.
Change versus persistence is still a difficult choice. Find your wave and give it a long ride, adjusting to conditions as they change. Change they will. Don’t be afraid to change with them!
Oh…and enjoy the ride!