Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Same Moan

I once heard a story I loved about how to implement unpopular change. A minister asked his congregation whether he could move a piano from the left of the front of the church to the right. They said no. They didn't like change. So each week, he moved the piano a few centimetres towards the right. A year later, he asked the congregation if he could move the piano from the right to the left. They said no. They didn't like change. He smiled.


I took the moral of this story as being you shouldn't get despondent if things are very different from how they should or could be. Small changes add up. Unfortunately there is a hole in the implementation of this tale. People don't really concentrate that much. We can't keep everything in mind and so focus on the things that are important to us. Moving the piano may be important only to me. They don't notice it moving each week, because the piano doesn't really matter to them. They just don't like change. Then suddenly one day when it is half way across and I am congratulating myself about how sneaky I have been, they do. Sneakiness doesn't help. People have to come along for the journey. We change our own minds.

Change can be ridiculously slow. It's absence can be irritating. It can get you angry. Being irritated and angry is over rated. I will stick my hand up and admit that I have gone through some very moany stages. It is one thing to chew over things in your own head without going anywhere. It gets a bit weird when you do the same thing with other people. When you realise that the moan you are having now is exactly the same moan you had last time you saw them. When you realise that they are becoming 'The person you moan about X with'. It may be that you enjoy moaning. It drives me nuts though. I hate it when I catch myself getting into a moaning rut. It is lost time. Time is priceless.

Picking your battles is something I have always struggled with. When something grates me, I always feel almost a responsibility to help change it for the better. All the time. Every change. That is not possible. Choosing the battles to fight is a balance between idealism and pragmatism. I don't think there is any point in wasting energy just because you were or are right. There is always the chance that you are wrong, but more importantly you don't get brownie points for intention. What you do is what matters. Pragmatism wins.

I spoke about my cousin helping people to accept chronic pain so they don't stress over it. I think the same is true of moaning. There are plenty things that are not the way we think they should be. They shouldn't get more of our attention than they deserve.

Attention is precious. Give it consciously.
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