The Culture of Can't

Resistance to change is a natural, programmed human response. As a rule, people hate change, and will go to ridiculous lengths to avoid it. They create a Culture of Can't, and present excuse after excuse for why change is not only a bad idea, but downright impossible.

But change is necessary and healthy - it helps us adapt to ever-changing conditions - and resistance to change has a cost.

In the days before Mount St. Helens erupted, the authorities and the folks who lived nearby were told by volcanologist David Johnston - a scientist who had studied the mountain for years - how devastating the inevitable eruption would be. He told them that it was going to explode with the force of a nuclear weapon. He said that it would release rivers of mud, avalanches of snow, and super-heated ash at hundreds of miles an hour, killing anyone in the area.

The local government still took weeks to decide to close the park - and tried to reopen it again when the eruption didn't happen right away. 54 people who lived near the mountain refused to leave. Most of their bodies were never recovered. That included David Johnston, who was in an area that was thought to be relatively safe.

Change happens; it's how the universe works. There is nothing that anyone can do to prevent it. The trick is to find a way to make change work in your favor - to create a Culture of Can. Instead of wasting your time and energy pushing back or dragging your feet, pick the change apart to find the opportunities that it presents. If you dig, there are diamonds in that mud. You want to be the one who finds them before someone else does.

Because there is always a volcano, a change in the social or political landscape, an asteroid, a disease, or a predatory competitor more than happy to make you extinct.

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