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Change Agent

“It is necessary to uproot oneself. To cut down the tree and make of it a cross, and then to carry it every day.” — Simone Weil

It begins in earnest now, doesn’t it? We each become change agents in our own lives, advocating for the elimination of bad habits, the acquisition of new routines, and the wholesale disruption of the things central to our identity that we would rather see cancelled outright. Naturally this is a heavy lift in practice, but it sure is easy to write down as our ideal self.

And so it is that resolutions fall by the wayside so quickly. Big, bold plans aren’t meant to be achieved easily. They’re meant to be broken down into bite-sized bits of habitualized change. So dream the dream, but simplify the steps that get you there. It’s not a mystery, it’s a process.

Change is itself a habit we ought to embrace. When you look at the pace of change in the world, it’s essential to get comfortable with rapid changes in the way we consume media, filter information, pay for things, communicate with one another and earn a living. We don’t have to be early adopters, but we need to be prepared for whatever is coming next. This is called situational awareness, or simply knowing the environment you’re in or about to step into.

We might get knocked over by the wave of change or surf it until it peters out. Either way they’ll be another wave arriving soon that we ought to be aware of. The trick in life is to avoid drowning long enough that we find our footing again. But in the confusion of the moment, isn’t it funny that we sometimes forget that we know how to swim? We must condition ourselves to being change agents, aware of our strengths and weaknesses, and forever adapting to find buoyancy in an unpredictable world.

Life informs, we adapt and grow, then do it all over again. For the art of living is navigating and even embracing that continuous uprooting. We must carry whatever life throws at us, but that load makes us stronger and more resilient. It doesn’t get easier, we simply grow into the people who can manage such things.

So as we look towards the New Year, we ought to view ourselves as change agents with an eye towards resiliency and growth. Life will keep throwing challenges at us—how do we thrive in such moments? Getting stronger, smarter and more comfortable with rapid change are thus goals worthy of our resolute focus.

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